Faizel Patel – 06/08/2020
Researchers at Check Point have published their Q2 Brand Phishing Report outlining the latest trends in ‘brand phishing’, a term used to describe when a hacker imitates an official website of a known brand by using a similar domain or URL.
Hackers leverage a variety of methods to send links to deceptive websites, redirecting users during their web browsing experiences.
The report shows that Google and Amazon were the most imitated brands in phishing attempts, while Apple (the leading phishing brand in Q1) fell to 7th place from the top spot in Q1.
The total number of Brand Phishing detections remains stable compared to Q1 2020.
“Why are there so many phishing attacks?” Simply because they work, again and again.
It’s estimated that phishing is the starting point of over 90% of all attempted cyber-attacks, and Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report showed that nearly one-third (32%) of actual data breaches involved phishing activity.
What’s more, phishing was present in 78% of cyber-espionage incidents and the installation and use of backdoors to networks.
They work because we’re human, and we make mistakes – either because we’re in a rush and our defences are lowered, or because we think we’re too smart to fall for a phishing attempt (a recent study showed how we often fail to recognize risk in assessing our own actions, while spotting risk easier when assessing other people’s behavior).
But none of us is immune – especially when the criminals behind attacks impersonate familiar, trusted brands that we often interact with.
‘Brand phishing’ involves the attacker imitating an official website of a known brand by using a similar domain or URL, and usually a web page similar to the original website.
The link to the deceptive website can be sent via email or text message, a user can be redirected during web browsing, or it may be triggered from a fraudulent mobile application.
In many cases the website contains a form intended to steal credentials, personal information or payments.
Email phishing exploits were the second most common type after web-based exploits, compared to Q1 where email was third. The reason for this change may be the easing of global Covid-19 related restrictions, which have seen businesses re-opening and employees returning to work.
Q2’s top phishing brands
Below are the top 10 brands ranked by their overall appearance in brand phishing events during Q2 2020: