Apple most imitated brand for phishing attempts in Q1 2020

(IANS) Apple was the frequently targeted brand by cybercriminals in the first quarter this year for phishing attempts, soaring from seventh place (relating to 2 percent of all brand phishing attempted globally in Q4 2019) to the top of the rankings in the January-March period, cybersecurity firm Check Point said on Tuesday.

Netflix took the second spot with 9 per cent of all phishing attempts related to the company, in part due to the increase in people accessing the service during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Phishing will continue to be a growing threat in the coming months, especially as criminals continue to exploit the fears and needs of people using essential services from their homes. As always, we encourage users to be vigilant and cautious when divulging personal data,” said Maya Horowitz, Director, Threat Intelligence & Research, Products at Check Point.

In a brand phishing attack, criminals try to imitate the official website of a well-known brand by using a similar domain name or URL and web-page design to the genuine site.

The link to the fake website can be sent to targeted individuals by email or text message, a user can be redirected during web browsing, or it may be triggered from a fraudulent mobile application.

The fake website often contains a form intended to steal users” credentials, payment details or other personal information.

Yahoo (6 per cent), WhatsApp (6 per cent) and PayPal (5 per cent) rounded off the top 5 most imitated brands for phishing attempts in the January-March period.

The Chase Bank brand rose by 3 per cent from Q4 2019 to take the sixth position, with 5 per cent of all phishing attempts seeking to exploit this brand.

“Ten per cent of all brand phishing attempts related to Apple, as bad actors sought to capitalize on its powerful brand recognition,” said the “Brand Phishing Report for Q1 2020”.

The most likely industry to be targeted by brand phishing was technology, followed by banking and then media.

Web phishing was the most prominent at 59 per cent, followed by mobile phishing as the second most attacked platform compared to Q4 of 2019, where it ranked third.

“This is due to people spending more time on their mobile phones during the Coronavirus pandemic,” said Check Point.

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