45% of fraud attacks worldwide abuse brand names

William S. | January 26, 2022

Cybercriminals create online content pretending to be well-known brands hoping to trick people into giving up their personal information. While more internet users are becoming aware of suspicious emails and malicious links, attackers are sophisticating fraud attacks, making them harder to recognize.

According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, 45% of fraud attacks worldwide abuse brand names. In addition, the United States and Spain are the most targeted countries by phishing attacks.

The data is based on Outseer Fraud and Payments Report Q4 2021. The research presents an analysis of fraud attacks and consumer fraud data. As such, it provides a glimpse into the cyber fraud landscape for consumer-facing organizations of all sizes.

Brand abuse accounted for 45% of all fraud attacks worldwide in 2021 Q3. Threats of such sort usually impersonate trusted brands to mislead users in digital channels, such as social media. Our report from last year revealed that Facebook, Microsoft, and the French financial group Crédit Agricole were the most impersonated brands in 2021 H1.

Rogue mobile apps were responsible for 39% of fraud attacks worldwide. Such malicious mobile applications exploit an organization’s brand to defraud users. Last year, for example, cybercriminals used fake TikTok Android apps to carry out Covid-19 related scams. Fake apps are usually distributed through third-party app stores.

Phishing attacks accounted for 14% of fraud threats in 2021 Q3. Phishing cyberattacks use social engineering to steal information from users under false pretenses, either by email, phone calls, or social media and text messages. Phishing attacks have become popular among cybercriminals for their simplicity and effectiveness.

Trojans represented only 2% of fraud attacks worldwide. A trojan horse is a stealthy malware that typically acts as an actual file or an application to trick you and steal your personal information.

Phishing attacks target the US

Phishing attacks usually impersonate large and popular brands, products known worldwide. It allows cybercriminals to target multiple countries where the attack would be the most effective and bring the most profit.

Cybercriminals targeted the United States in 21% of all phishing attacks in 2021 Q3. The US is threatened by phishing the most as attackers hope to get access to corporate accounts, spreading the malware further. Other phishing instances include Russia and China state-sponsored attacks to obtain classified information on the US government.

Fraudsters chose Spain as their target in 14% of phishing attacks worldwide. Phishing campaigns in Spain targeted drivers with emails informing them about supposed fines, while actually, it would download malware on the device if clicked on the malicious link.

At the same time, South Africa suffered from 12% of phishing threats carried out in 2021 Q3. Attackers targeted the Philippines in 9% of phishing attacks worldwide. Greece ranks fifth as cybercriminals directed 7% of phishing threats to Greek organizations.

Fraudsters targeted each Canada and the Netherlands with 6% phishing attacks in 2021 Q3. Other countries represented a total share of 15% in phishing attacks worldwide.

Fraud attacks require the user to identify and assess possible threats, so employee training and general tech-savviness are essential when mitigating fraud risks. However, as humans are prone to make mistakes, anybody could fall for a sophisticated scam.  Businesses should set up cybersecurity solutions to back people up in such cases.

William S.

William S.

Cybersecurity Researcher and Publisher at Atlas VPN. Focused on revealing the latest cybersecurity trends around the world.

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FraudPhishing

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