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Barracuda 2023 spear-phishing trends

Our partner Barracuda have been investigating the spear-phishing trends attacking many companies in 2023. Here are some of their key findings on what you should be aware of going into 2024.

Spear-phishing insights

Based on proprietary spear-phishing data and analysis, as well as market data from 1,350 IT decision makers, this report explores the impact and costs of spear-phishing attacks on organizations around the globe over the past 12 months.

50% of organizations were victims of spear phishing in the last 12 months.

5 Number of spear-phishing emails a typical organization receives each day.

22% of organizations had at least one email account compromised in 2022.

370 average number of malicious emails sent from each compromised account

Spear phishing is low-volume but high impact.

In an analysis of 50 billion emails across 3.5 million mailboxes, Barracuda researchers uncovered nearly 30,000,000 spear-phishing emails. While these emails make up less than 0.1% of all emails sent, but they are responsible for 66% of all breaches.

Organizations are feeling the effects.

Nearly every victim of spear-phishing in the last 12 months saw impacts on their organization, including malware infections, stolen data, account takeover, monetary loss, and reputational damage.

Threat detection and response remains a challenge.

On average, organizations take nearly 100 hours to identify, respond to, and remediate a post-deliver email threat — 43 hours to detect the attack and 56 hours to respond and remediate after the attack is detected.

Having more remote workers slows detection and response.

Companies with more than a 50% remote workforce also reported that it takes longer to both detect and response to email security incidents — 55 hours to detect and 63 hours to response and mitigate, compared to an average of 36 hours and 51 hours respectively for organizations with fewer remote workers.

You can find the full report here. If protecting your emails is on your agenda for 2024, please get in touch by emailing