Phishing attacks increasingly target brands

The number of brands targeted by phishing attacks sustained an all-time high of 428 in April of this year, the second record-breaking quarter for cybercrime brand abuse reported by the APWG this year.

Reports during Q2 2012 indicate new record highs in the numbers of attacks on identifiable brands and in the numbers of phishing websites to lure Web users. The APWG reports that in April 2012 an all-time record 428 brands targeted by phishers. This was a 9 percent increase from the previous all-time high of 392, recorded in February and March of this year.

“Targeted attacks remain the favorite attack vector used to launch phishing attacks, as the number of unique brands [during the entire quarter] being targeted rose to 601 in Q2 2012 from 587 in Q1 2012,” said Ihab Shraim, chief information security officer and vice president of anti-fraud engineering and operations at MarkMonitor.

Meanwhile, the number of unique phishing sites reached an all-time monthly high of 63,253 in April, eclipsing the previous record high of 56,859 in February of this year by more than 11 percent.

Highlights of Q2 include:

  • The total number of URLs used to host phishing attacks increased to 175,229 in Q2 2012, up from 164,023 in Q1 2012.
  • Financial Services continued to be the most-targeted industry sector in the second quarter of 2012.
  • Four out of every five new malware specimens created were Trojans (78.92 percent).
  • For the first time, South Korea led the ranking of countries most infected by malware (57.30 percent of infected PCs), followed by China (51.94 percent).
  • In the second quarter of 2012, more than six million unique malware samples were identified.
  • During the second quarter, the USA remained the top hosting country of phishing-based Trojans, consistent from the first quarter of the year.

The complete APWG Phishing Activity Trends Report is available here.

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