As people are spending more time on their mobile phones and laptops to stay connected during the Coronavirus pandemic, cybercriminals are utilising this period to carry out phishing attempts. A Brand Phishing Report for Q1 2020 by Check Point Research (CPR) has revealed that Apple was the most imitated brand, rising from 7th place in Q4 of 2019 to the top spot.
According to the research by CPR, “This was due in part to the anticipated launch of the new Apple Watch, with criminals exploiting the online buzz to launch several credential theft attempts.”
As web phishing was the most prominent vector with 59%, Netflix came on second spot after Apple reaching the top position. PayPal and eBay were on 3rd and 4th spot, respectively.
Furthermore, in Q1 Mobile Phishing was the second most common attack vector compared to Q4 of 2019 where it ranked in third place. This may be due to the Coronavirus pandemic which has caused people to rely more on their mobile phones for information and work.
In Mobile Phishing, the top position was retained by Netflix followed by Apple, WhatsApp and Chase. These brands have gained popularity due to an increase in the number of people working from home as a result of the Coronavirus. The researchers showed that in February, an attacker was trying to imitate Netflix services using fraudulent domain (netflix-pagos\.com).
In February again, analysts at CPR noticed that a URL, mail\.whatsapp\.vvipx9\.com/login.php, is presenting a fraudulent WhatsApp web login page in Indonesian language requesting Facebook credentials in order to connect.
Besides this, during this quarter Counter Point team also noticed dozens of detections of fraudulent websites trying to imitate login pages of banks. According to the report, “Such websites, as the one below, is trying to steal Chase Bank login credentials and listed under the address chasecovid19s\.com/home/myaccount/access\.php which was first active in March 2020 and registered under the IP – 188.8.131.52, located in United States.”
Asserting that phishing continues to be a key weapon in cyber-criminals’ arsenals to try and trick users, researchers at Check Point said that the total number of brand phishing detections remains stable compared to the last quarter of 2019.
In order to avoid falling victim to these scam attempts, the report by Counter Point Research revealed that one should verify if they are using or ordering from an authentic website. One should refrain from clicking on promotional links in emails, and instead Google your desired retailer and click the link from the Google results page. For instance: An 80% discount on the new iPhone is usually not a reliable or trustworthy purchase opportunity.
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