The latest data from email security vendor Vade Secure shows drastic shifts in domain impersonation trends cybercriminals are using to carry out phishing attacks.
One key method of establishing credibility with a potential phishing victim is to impersonate a brand they are familiar with, often using lookalike domains in the process.
According to Vade Secure’s just-released Phishers’ Favorites Q4 2019 report, many of the key brands haven’t shifted placement much, with PayPal, Facebook, Microsoft, and Netflix topping the list.
What’s interesting is in Q4 of 2019, the top four impersonated brands all saw declines in phishing URLs, as well as a huge jump for the brand WhatsApp from the number 63 to the number 5 spot on the list.
This new data provides two very important pieces of insight for those concerned about brand impersonation attacks:
- The tried and true brands continue to work and, therefore, continue to be used.
- The uptick in the popularity of WhatsApp now has the attention of cybercriminals and with such a massive jump, there is likely an already realized degree of success.
Phishing continues to be the primary attack vector for most organizations. Impersonated brands offer attackers an ability to keep the victim’s “defenses” down and engage with them to act upon the phishing scam.
Organizations should update users on the use of these domains and encourage them to be mindful of the use of domains like these as part of a phishing scam. Those users already taking ongoing Security Awareness Training are likely already vigilant – regardless of the domain used – and are less in need of being updated, as every email is already under suspicion.