Microsoft Takes the Lead in Q4 2023 for Alarming Phishing Attempts

Microsoft Top Impersonated Brand in PhishingMicrosoft was the most impersonated brand last quarter, accounting for a third (33%) of all brand phishing attempts in October, November, and December 2023, according to Check Point’s Brand Phishing Report for Q4 2023.

Check Point notes, “The technology sector stood out as the most targeted industry overall, with Amazon securing second place with 9% and Google in third at 8%. Social networks and banking represented the other two most targeted industries.”

The researchers describe a recent phishing attack that attempted to trick users into clicking on a malicious link, supposedly to verify their account.

“This deceptive email, posing as the Microsoft account team, claimed to require email address verification and urged recipients to click a verification link,” the researchers write.

“It featured a subject line ‘Microsoft: Verify your email address’ aiming to create a sense of urgency. The phishing link included in the email was: ‘cloudflare-ipfs[.]com/ipfs/bafybeigjhhhd64vhna67panxz6myhaelya6vphjbic65jog5hvm4mmgpum.’ This link is not associated with Microsoft. The email requested recipients to verify their email address and may potentially lead to fraudulent activities.”

Check Point predicts an increase in the use of AI to improve phishing attacks in 2024.

“While we have said goodbye to 2023, one thing has followed us into the new year and that is the threat of phishing,” the researchers write.

“Even cybercriminals with limited IT expertise can accurately mimic legitimate brands to deceive unsuspecting customers and carry out social engineering attacks. Following the widespread use of AI, we can expect to see a higher volume of phishing campaigns this year that are even more indistinguishable from genuine company communications. As the biggest names in technology, social networking, and banking continue to be imitated, end users need to be extra vigilant when engaging with emails claiming to be from a reputable brand.”

KnowBe4 enables your workforce to make smarter security decisions every day. Over 65,000 organizations worldwide trust the KnowBe4 platform to strengthen their security culture and reduce human risk.

Check Point has the story.

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