246 percent spike in Apple-themed phishing scams

Phishing scams targeting Apple users saw a dramatic upswing in Q3 of this year. Compared to Q1 2014, Apple users faced a 246% increase in the attacks that masquerade as a trustworthy entity in order to obtain sensitive user information, Cyren analysts report.

Following the recent news of the Apple-based hack into celebrity accounts, the company’s quarterly analytics indicated more than 7,000 new Apple phishing sites during the week of the celebrity hack news.

The threat was intensified by Apple initiating new email alerts shortly after news of the celebrity attacks. The legitimate Apple emails informed users that their Apple ID was used to sign into an iCloud account. However, this gave scammers the opportunity to imitate an official large-scale email campaign.

“While the iOS and OSX operating systems still remain relatively safe, more and more individuals globally are buying Apple devices and using Apple services, which could account (in part) for the increased targeting of Apple users, ” commented Cyren CTO Lior Kohavi.

“And, phishing attacks are at least three times more likely to be successful on a smart phone than on a desktop or laptop, mainly because telltale giveaways, such as fake links, logos, and email addresses, aren’t as easily visible on a small mobile phone screen.”

The company’s Internet Threats Trend Report is based on a comprehensive analysis of billions of daily transactions handled by the their GlobalView Cloud Platform.

Other interesting facts that the report brought to the fore is that diet spam accounted for 31 percent of all known third-quarter spam, up an astounding 288 percent from the previous quarter, and that the number of unique malware samples collected increased by 35%, totaling nearly 22 million.

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