A new study has revealed that more than a quarter of phishing attacks target financial data.
According to Kaspersky Lab, some 28.8 per cent of phishing attacks in 2014 were carried out with the intention of stealing this information.
This form of security breach sees cyber criminals lure users into handing over information such as usernames and passwords by creating fake websites that imitate a popular online resource, such as a bank’s login page.
Kaspersky found that action from major banks has seen the number of phishing attacks imitating these organisations fall from 22.2 per cent of total incidents to 16.3 per cent. However, cyber criminals are instead exploiting other areas of the financial market.
For example, the names of well-known online shopping sites were used in 7.3 per cent of phishing attacks, which is up from 6.5 per cent in 2013. Close to 16 per cent of attacks involved the imitation of social networks, while other methods include exploiting online payment systems, telecommunication services and online games.
Nadezhda Demidova, web content analyst at Kaspersky Lab, said cyber criminals “immediately responded” to the clampdown from major banks 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,” she stated.
Amazon is the online retailer that is exploited most often in phishing attacks, accounting for close to a third of incidents in this category. Visa cards represent a similar proportion of payment system breaches, followed by PayPal and American Express.
Mac OS X users are particularly vulnerable to financial phishing attacks, with 48.5 per cent of recorded incidents on this platform designed to steal financial data.
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