KnowBe4 reports every quarter on the top-clicked phishing emails. Here we have the results for Q4 2018. We track three different categories: general email subjects, those related to social media and 'in the wild' attacks. The results come from a combination of the simulated phishing emails used by our customers as well as from the millions of users that click our Phish Alert Button to report suspicious emails to their IT department.
Trends That Persisted Throughout 2018
In reviewing the Q4 2018 most clicked subject lines, trends were easily identified; five subject line categories appeared quarter-over-quarter throughout 2018, including:
Additionally, three “in-the-wild subject lines” were clicked three out of four quarters and included Amazon, Wells Fargo and Microsoft as keywords.
The Subject Lines Tell Us Users Are Concerned About Security
“Clicking an email is as much about human psychology as it is about accomplishing a task,” said Perry Carpenter, chief evangelist and strategy officer at KnowBe4. “The fact that we saw ‘password’ subject lines clicked four out of four quarters shows us that users are concerned about security. Likewise, users clicked on messages about company policies and deliveries each quarter showing a general curiosity about issues that matter to them. Knowing this information gives corporate IT departments tangible data to share with their users and to help them understand how to think before they click.”
Top 10 Most-Clicked General Email Subjects in Q4 2018:
Password Check Required Immediately/Change of Password Required Immediately 19%
Your Order with Amazon.com/Your Amazon Order Receipt 16%
Announcement: Change in Holiday Schedule 11%
Happy Holidays! Have a drink on us. 10%
Problem with the Bank Account 8%
De-activation of [[email]] in Process 8%
Wire Department 8%
Revised Vacation & Sick Time Policy 7%
Last reminder: please respond immediately 6%
UPS Label Delivery 1ZBE312TNY00015011 6%
*Capitalization and spelling are as they were in the phishing test subject line. **Email subject lines are a combination of both simulated phishing templates created by KnowBe4 for clients, and custom tests designed by KnowBe4 customers.
Most Common 'In the Wild' Attacks in this period were:
Apple: You recently requested a password reset for your Apple ID
Employee Satisfaction Survey
Sharepoint: You Have Received 2 New Fax Messages
Your Support Ticket is Closing
Docusign: You've received a Document for Signature
ZipRecruiter: ZipRecruiter Account Suspended
IT System Support
Amazon: Your Order Summary
Office 365: Suspicious Activity Report
Squarespace: Account billing failure
*Capitalization and spelling are as they were in the phishing test subject line. **In-the-wild email subject lines represent actual emails users received and reported to their IT departments as suspicious. They are not simulated phishing test emails.
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