In 2019, there were about 1.5 million phishing sites. In 2020, Google detected that the count of the phishing has gone up to 2.1 million which is an outrageous 25% increase. This is the highest increase rate in phishing sites ever. Phishing has become one of the most popular tools for scammers. In the prevailing Pandemic, with people still working remotely, experts predict further hike in the phishing count in 2021. The businesses are in pursuit of protecting themselves against the phishing attacks via mails. Attacks from the social platforms should also be counteracted. 64% of the businesses are expecting phishing attacks in form of emails. Social platforms WhatsApp and Telegram are the main targets for phishing scammers according to cybersecurity report by Kaspersky Internet Security. WhatsApp is the most compromised social platform from December 2020 and May 2021. According to the cybersecurity company, with almost 85% of malicious links sent through the platform.
A ‘venerable, but increasingly sophisticated, form of cyber attack’, using disguised messages supposedly from trusted organisations to tricking the recipient into believing that the message is something they want or need and to click a link or download an attachment and reveal personal information.
Second in the phishing target is Telegram with 5.7% of social phishing attacks coming through the platform. Viber is third with 4.9% of attacks with Google Hangouts next on the list with 1%.
The biggest number of malicious links were detected in WhatsApp, as it being the major target because it is the most popular messenger globally, according to the internet security company. Also, it offers one of the most convenient ways to share messages to a large number of people thus making easy the quick propagation of malicious messages.
Social networks were outpaced by 20% by these messengers in 2020, according to research; it has become the most popular mode of communication. It is predicted that almost 40% of the world population will be using and communicating via these messengers. As in 2020, the global audience for messengers was 2.7 billion people, and by 2023 it is expected to grow to 3.1 billion.
How to Stay Safe from Phishing Scammers
Following these simple tips can reduce the risk of falling victim to phishing scams
- Look for misspellings or other irregularities in links
- A ‘chain scheme’ is common practice, where the user is asked to share the malicious link with his contacts which then looks legitimate to other users, as it is from a person they know.
- WhatsApp and other messengers are used by the scammers to communicate with users who were found on a legitimate resource like various marketplaces and accommodation booking services.
- Even if messages and websites look real, the hyperlinks, most likely, will have incorrect spelling, or they redirect to a different place
- Even if a message or letter came from one of your best friends, remember that their accounts could also have been hacked.
- Install a trusted security solution and follow its recommendations.
- Security solutions will solve the majority of problems automatically and alert you if necessary.