Zscaler released a report that tracked and analyzed over 20 billion threats blocked over HTTPS, a protocol originally designed for secure communication over networks an increased 314% attack surface

Seven of the industries in the study experienced higher attack rates from threats in SSL and TLS traffic, while last year’s most targeted industry, healthcare, saw a decrease of 27 percent since January 2021. Conversely, the technology industry was plagued by threats at a rate much higher than other types of businesses, accounting for 50 percent of attacks.

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More than 80 percent of internet bound traffic is encrypted, which means that enterprises face the unique challenge of enforcing consistent security for all of their remote users. Cybercriminals are increasingly sophisticated in their tactics, and they’re using encrypted channels at various stages of malware and ransomware attacks.

Most enterprise IT and security teams recognize this reality but often struggle to implement SSL/TLS inspection policies due to a lack of compute resources and/or privacy concerns,

As a result, encrypted channels create a significant blind spot in their security postures. The report on the state of encrypted attacks demonstrates that the most effective way to prevent encrypted attacks is with a scalable, cloud-based proxy architecture to inspect all encrypted traffic, which is essential to a holistic zero trust security strategy.”

While cybercriminals can use various attack types to hide in encrypted traffic, malicious content represented a staggering 91 percent of attacks, a 212 percent increase over last year. In contrast, cryptomining malware is down 20 percent, reflecting a broader shift in the attack trends, with ransomware becoming a more lucrative option.

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Attacks on healthcare organizations and government organizations decreased by 10 percent. Ransomware attacks that targeted critical services, including the Colonial Pipeline attack and the ransomware attack on the Health Services Executive of Ireland, have caught the attention of the highest levels of law enforcement

After being the two most frequently targeted sectors in 2020, healthcare and government organizations had an immense sense of urgency to revamp their security postures with modern architectures, which are largely based on zero trust.

The five most targeted countries of encrypted attacks include the U.K. (5,446,549,767), U.S. (2,674,879,625), India (2,169,135,553), Australia (1,806,003,182), and France (519,251,819).

As a whole, Europe led the way with 7,234,747,361 attacks, with APAC (4,924,732,36) and North America (2,778,360,051) rounding out the top three.

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To lower the threat from encrypted attacks, a zero trust security strategy is recommended, which allows organizations to:

  • Prevent compromise:
  • Prevent lateral movement:
  • Prevent data loss: