Apple is the brand most used by crooks in phishing attempts during the coronavirus quarantine, according to a report by Check Point Research released last Tuesday (14). The cybersecurity provider of cyber security solutions identified the brands that were most imitated by criminals in crimes of theft of personal information, and bank credentials in the first quarter of 2020 worldwide. Netflix, Yahoo! and WhatsApp also appear in the ranking.
The scams that involved Apple and other famous brands consisted of imitating the companies’ official website, using their name, identical layout of official pages and similar URLs to confuse the victims. In most cases, the fake pages contained forms that requested personal and online payment details, designed to steal the information filled in by users. Access links were sent by email, SMS, while browsing the Internet or using fraudulent cell phone applications.
The survey used the database of ThreatCloud, a collaborative network to fight cyber crime that analyzed more than 250 million online addresses. The service has already identified more than 11 million malware signatures and more than 5.5 million infected websites worldwide. See below the complete ranking of brands used by criminals in phishing attempts during quarantine:
Apple was used in 10% of all phishing scams found by Check Point Research in the quarantine. At the end of 2019, the apple company ranked only seventh on the list, and jumped 8% during the pandemic. According to the report, the tech industry was the most used by the bad guys in the scams analyzed now, and the strength of the Apple brand may have influenced criminals to use the apple to deliver the scams.
Netflix, the second most used brand by criminals, was identified in 9% of the scams found. According to the report, the use of streaming may be associated with increased demand for the service during quarantine, as watching movies and series online has become a great alternative for entertainment during social isolation.
In addition to the technology sector, the scams used the banking and communication and media segments to apply the brand scams, industries that were widely consumed during the quarantine period. Researchers found several fraudulent pages that mimicked Chase Bank, Yahoo !, WhatsApp and Airbnb sites. The addresses used masks that directed users to alternative domains, where the scams would be applied.
According to the study, the scams were applied in greater numbers on the computer, where 59% of the cases were accounted for. In the sequence, the scams appear via cell phone, with 23%, and by email, with 18%. According to the report, mobile phishing ranked third in the end of 2019, but the increase in cell phone use during quarantine may have influenced the growth of scams in the mobile sector. The e-mail scams, on the other hand, did not show an increase.
According to Check Point’s Product Threat Research and Intelligence director, Maya Horowitz, phishing attempts should remain in quarantine. “Phishing will continue to be a growing threat in the coming months, mainly because criminals continue to exploit the fears and needs of people who use essential services from their homes. As always, we encourage users to be vigilant and cautious when disclosing personal data ”.
How to protect yourself?
Look out for links received by email, WhatsApp, SMS or other means. To ensure security, access the site manually, without clicking on suspicious links. When accessing the page, make sure you are accessing an authentic website, with HTTPS certificate, and check for possible domains that contain spelling errors.
Also be wary of promotions and offers for the purchase of very advantageous and unrealistic products, as they can be a scam opportunity. Be suspicious of calls or messages that request personal or bank details, and do not provide confidential information when you are not on a secure channel.