About one third of online phishing attacks target financial institutions, according to a new study from Kaspersky Labs. This includes banks, e-commerce companies, and online stores and the attacks involve luring the users into using a false webpage masquerading as something legit and then accessing private information.
Kaspersky Lab tells us that within those findings, over 70 percent of scammers used fake bank websites to gather customers’ confidential information. Scammers tend to use fake sites of well-known companies like PayPal, MasterCard or big bank names. PayPal is the most popular mask used by cybercriminals, making up 44 percent of those researched. The research also noted a significant rise in phishing attacks in 2013 compared to 2012.
How to avoid phishing
Amazon was once the most popular mask and still is used quite frequently, as too is eBay and Apple. If you receive emails from a source purporting to be these companies, be extra vigilant. Check the email address it comes from and compare it with other emails you’ve received from the site in the past. Crucially, never reply with your password or any other sensitive information to these emails, even if they ask and they look legitimate.
It’s best practice on the part of companies to never ask for this information. Often this is detailed in the terms of service for the site. To recap: never reply to these emails.
Sergey Lozhkin who is Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab commented: “Phishing attacks are so popular because they are simple to deploy and extremely effective. It is often not easy for even advanced Internet users to distinguish a well-designed fraudulent site from a legitimate page, which makes it even more important to install a specialized protection solution,”
He added: “In addition, phishing causes reputational and financial damage to organizations that see their brands exploited in phishing attacks.”