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Quarter of Phishing Attacks Target Financial Data

A new study has found that over a quarter of phishing attacks set out to target financial data. The study, carried out by Kapersky Lab, found that 28.8 percent of phishing attacks last year were carried out with the purpose of stealing financial information.

Phishing is a popular method of securing data because it tricks users into inputting personal information into places that look legitimate. For example, cyber criminals will create fake websites that mimic the design of a bank’s and will then direct a user to that bogus login page. Where the user thinks they are submitting their username and password, that information is actually going straight to the criminal.

The banks are aware of these potential scams, however. Indeed, they have teams set up with the sole purpose of protecting consumers from these sorts of threats. The study found that action from the biggest banks has seen the number of phishing attacks mimicking these organisation’s sites fell from 22.2 percent of the total incidents to 16.3 percent. However, that doesn’t deter the criminals – they are still exploiting other areas of the financial market.

Web content analyst at Kapersky Lab, Nadezhda Demidova, said that these criminals immediately responded from the bank’s clampdown by simply 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 said.

The criminals use names of reputable and well-known brands in order to lure people into being phished. Names of popular online shopping websites were used in 7.3 percent of phishing attacks, which is up from 6.5 percent in 2013. Nearly 16 percent of the attacks involved imitating social networks, while others included exploiting payment systems, telecom services and online games.

Amazon is the retailer that is exploited the most when it comes to phishing attacks. Their name is used in nearly a third of the attacks in the category. In terms of payment system compromises, Visa, PayPal and American Express are the three providers that are targeted the most often.

It was also found that 48.5 percent of recorded phishing incidents that were designed to steal financial data were from Mac OS X users.

It’s no surprise that financial data is something that is constantly targeted. A lot of your private details are tied to your financial institutions. Not least your payment details, but also personal information such as address, date of birth and more.

It is very important to become clued up on phishing attacks – what they are, how they’re carried out, the outcomes of them. Education in this area will mean that people will become less susceptible to the scam. A lot of our lives are now led digitally and we put trust in ourselves and organisations to keep our data safe. But although layers such as encryption add extra security, it’s also vital to not fall into simple traps such as handing over your username and password to the wrong place.

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