Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Their ruthlessness is boundless.

Their blood is colder than a January in Hamar, Norway.

They'll try anything to get into your computer and into the information it holds.

Who, though, are the most vulnerable targets?

The company performs this research quarterly. This time it declared:

99 percent of the most heavily targeted email addresses in the quarter didn't rank as such in our last report.

There is, therefore, no mercy and no knowing who might be the next target.

Proofpoint does, however, offer a couple of clues.

It identifies two industries which, over the last year, seem to have been the biggest targets of email phishers.

Biotechnology and real estate.

One can understand pharmaceutical companies being a target because of the potential new drugs they're developing and the formulas (and potential profits) that might be attached to those drugs.

But real estate?

There, too, lies valuable information to be gleaned, perhaps of a financial nature. Moreover, ProofPoint says the real estate business enjoys frequent transactions and everything happens online. 

To give you some perspective, over the last five quarters drug companies underwent an average of 282 attacks per company, while real estate suffered 272.

Per company.

In the last quarter, construction companies became a considerable target. 

ProofPoint also analyzed which job titles were most vulnerable. Well, the hackers seem to target production and operations people the most.

This was followed by marketing and PR types and then management.

Least interesting to the nefarious groups were those in distribution, administration and, oh, customer service.

Well, what do they know?

The size of a company, says Proofpoint, is immaterial. They're all being targeted.

The researchers noticed a huge rise in credentials hacking.

Once they have your credentials, hackers can access anything within the hacked employee's purview and can impersonate them, too, in order to get other sensitive information.

Currently, the favored method is a malicious URL link, rather than an attachment you're asked to open.

It's all so frightening. 

So much vigilance is necessary not to fall into a simple trap through sheer momentary negligence.

Proofpoint, naturally, suggests companies should not only work with experts to protect themselves, but also be aware at the individual level about who might be targeted.

The battle, though, is constant and much might be lost in an instant.

And to think tech companies always said they were making things better and easier.

Published on: Nov 29, 2018