Phishing attacks increasingly target financial data

28.8 percent of phishing attacks last year aimed to steal financial data from consumers, according to a new report by Kaspersky Lab. The results show how cybercriminals have shifted their focus from banks to payment systems and online shopping websites.

Highlights include:

  • Cybercriminals used the names of well-known banks in 16.3 percent of attacks; in 2013, the level of bank phishing was 22.2 percent
  • In the Payment Systems category, cybercriminals mostly targeted data belonging to Visa card owners (31.02 percent), PayPal (30.03 percent) and American Express (24.6 percent)
  • The names of well-known online shopping sites were used in 7.3 percent of attacks compared to 6.5 percent in 2013
  • In 5.1 percent of cases, Kaspersky Lab’s protection technologies were triggered by phishing pages mentioning payment systems, which is 2.4 percent more than in 2013
  • The proportion of financial phishing detected on Mac systems increased by 9.6 percent compared to the previous year, representing 48.5 percent of all instances in which the anti-phishing component of Kaspersky Lab security products for Mac OS X was triggered.

Last year, the proportion of financial phishing to all phishing attacks fell by 2.7 percentage points compared to 2013, primarily due to a decrease in the level of phishing targeting banks. At the same time, there was proportionally more phishing targeting other financial categories.

In the Payment Systems category, cybercriminals mostly targeted data belonging to users of Visa cards (31.02 percent of detections in this category), PayPal (30.03 percent) and American Express (24.6 percent). At the same time, in 2014 detections for phishing pages mentioning PayPal saw their share fall by 14.09 percent compared to 2013.

Amazon remained the most commonly-attacked brand in the Online Shopping category – 31.7 percent of attacks in this category used phishing pages mentioning the popular Internet-based retailer. However, this is 29.41 percent less than in the previous year.

“The rise in financial phishing that we saw in the past has naturally drawn a response from the brands most frequently abused in phishing scams – they are beginning to tackle phishing distribution channels, especially email spam, more actively. That leads to a reduction in the levels of phishing that targets some of the larger brands. However, cybercriminals immediately responded by targeting new “markets.’ For example, in 2014 we saw a large number of phishing scams based on websites that sell plane tickets. These are targets that used to be seen fairly infrequently in phishing scams,” said Nadezhda Demidova, web content analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The complete report is available here.