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Are Phishing Attacks REALLY Down?

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There is a recent study by the “Anti Phishing Working Group” (APWG) being widely reported that phishing attacks were down 20% in 2012.

When I first read about this I thought,
“They HAVE to be kidding!”

There is a flood of other stories that contradict such a finding, including numerous reports of high profile attacks. Last week, in fact, we learned that a Syrian group had a successful email phishing attack on White House staffers. A member of the “Syrian Electronic Army” (SEA), supporters of dictator Bashar al-Assad, proudly distributed screen prints of White House staffer Erin Lindsey’s Gmail account emails. Ms. Lindsey made the mistake of clicking on a link in a faux email from the SEA.

American Banker Magazine this week is reporting on a “spike” in email phishing that targets bank customers. I can testify that I get emails almost every day about my accounts at Banks I don’t use!

Yet, the APWG is a reputable group supported by many of the biggest names in Internet Security and corporate America. How can we reconcile this?

First, if there has been a decline in phishing attacks in 2012 it is the context of a dramatic rise in recent years. There is no standard metric, but there is every indication that email phishing scams have been booming. Even a 20% decline would leave a lot of phishing going on. Second, an important metric in the report is a decline in the number of compromised servers being used in phishing scams. The scammers seize control of a server hosting multiple domains and then create phishing pages for each domain.

In recent years that has been a significant decline in storage costs and processing power. Just last year my own internet host increased the available storage in my web site plan from 300gb to 1tb without increasing my plan cost. It was 30mb when I first started with them in 2003!

This has made it possible to host more domains per server. It is likely that a decline in the number of servers compromised does not translate to the same percentage of domains compromised. They may also be using compromised servers for other nasty purposes, such as spamming and botnets.

Even if the total volume of phishing is down as the AFWG report also asserts, there is every reason to believe that it is because they are becoming more targeted, more selective. There may be fewer mass mailings with low probabilities of success and more sophisticated attacks that actually victimize their targets. That would explain why the volume could be down but we are reading about more and more successful high profile attacks.

In support of my theory I found a report by the German Internet Security firm Eleven Research that found email spam declining in 2012 but the “threat level” increasing. That’s because email spam and phishing attacks have become far more target and much more dangerous. Drive by email, where the email entices the victim to click on a link and download malware, was 10% of all email span. This is an all-time high as a percentage of spam.

Eleven Research also asserts that a higher percentage of phishing is “spear phishing” than ever before. A spear phishing attack targets particular individuals and organizations, as opposed to mass mailings that count on a small percentage of a volume to be duped. Orchestrator’s of spear phishing attacks use internet sources including social media to learn about a victim and their colleagues to craft emails that appear convincingly legitimate.

I wouldn’t click on the link in an email from a South African barrister handling the estate of a possible relative. However, I just might for a webinar that my company is actually planning that appears to come from a co-worker.

Scammers have found social media a treasure trove of information to use in targeted attacks, and they are becoming more sophisticated. SpiderLabs, the penetration testing division of the security firm TrustWave, has unveiled a tool that analyzes an individual’s Twitter content and can assist in creating writing that appears to come from that individual. It coaches the actual writer on the style and content that would be expected from the purported author. There are indications that such tools are already in use by hackers.

Regardless of the volume of attacks, Eleven Research has it right. The threat level is increasing!

TEST YOUR EMAIL SECURITY GET YOUR INSTANT SECURITY SCORECARD FOR FREE Source: https://blog.comodo.com/it-security/1581/

Cyber Security

Digitally Signed Bandook Trojan Reemerges in Global Spy Campaign

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The administrator of your personal data will be Threatpost, Inc., 500 Unicorn Park, Woburn, MA 01801. Detailed information on the processing of personal data can be found in the privacy policy. In addition, you will find them in the message confirming the subscription to the newsletter.

Source: https://threatpost.com/digitally-signed-bandook-trojan-spy-campaign/161676/

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Cyber Security

MacOS Users Targeted By OceanLotus Backdoor

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Source: https://threatpost.com/macos-users-targeted-oceanlotus-backdoor/161655/

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Cyber Security

Pandemic, A Driving Force in 2021 Financial Crime

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The administrator of your personal data will be Threatpost, Inc., 500 Unicorn Park, Woburn, MA 01801. Detailed information on the processing of personal data can be found in the privacy policy. In addition, you will find them in the message confirming the subscription to the newsletter.

Source: https://threatpost.com/2021-financial-crime-covid-19/161665/

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Big Data

Contactless payments market to reach US$ 26.3 billion by 2027

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Contactless Payments Market To Reach US$ 26.3 Billion By 2027

The global contactless payments market is expected to surpass US$ 26.3 Billion by 2027 end, registering a CAGR of 12.9% during the forecast period of 2019 to 2027), as highlighted in a report published by Coherent Market Insights.

Increasing demand for contactless payments from the retail sector is expected to drive market growth during the forecast period. Retailers are modernizing their brick-and-mortar stores to offer secure services to customers and establishing online stores to increase revenue.

They are adopting advanced technologies such as big data analytics and cloud computing to increase their presence in the market. Retail manufacturers are using contactless payments methods that provide many benefits, such as reduced transaction time, increased operational efficiency, increased revenue, minimized cost, and others. Contactless payment methods at retail stores reduce transaction process and queue in counter.

Moreover, governments are also focusing on introducing new payment methods in order to increase productivity and remain competitive in the market. For instance, in December 2016, the government of India launched BHIM app for Unified Payment Interface (UPI). The common UPIbased BHIM app allows the user to send and receive money through their mobile phones by linking their bank accounts. For instance, according to Coherent Market Insights’ analysis, the number of transactions done through the Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app reached 18.8 million in February 2020.

Contactless Payments Market – Impact of Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic

According to Coherent Market Insight‘s study, globally, most of the countries are affected by COVID-19 and most of the countries have announced lockdown.Contactless payment have become more preferred payment method, as it requires less physical interactions.

Smartphone based payment interface and digital wallets are the potential solutions to contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, recent developments in digital payments have encouraged the use of contactless payment methods during this pandemic. For instance, in April 2020, Upgrade Inc., a U.S.-based loan company, launched new contactless credit card. The new credit card provides high transaction limit than other payment methods.

Moreover, bank authorities and card network in Germany, U.K., Austria, and other countries have set higher transaction limit, as people are staying at home and prefer shopping through payment cards only. For instance, U.K Finance Limited increased the transaction limit for contactless payment cards starting from 30 Euros to 45 Euros. This, in turn, increases demand for contactless payment solutions.

Key Trends and Analysis of the Global Contactless Payments Market:

  • Europe held dominant position in the global contactless payments market in 2019 and is expected to retain its dominance throughout the forecast period. This is owing to increasing payment through smart cards. For instance, according to the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA), contactless payments through Mastercard and Maestro increased by 145% in Europe in 2018. Furthermore, in 2019, according to Coherent Market Insights’ analysis, the transactions through contactless payment methods reached 651 million in the U.K.
  • Asia Pacific is expected to show significant growth over the forecast period. The increasing adoption of contactless payment methods from retail industry is fueling the market growth. Retailers are modernizing their conventional payment methods with contactless payment methods, in order to improve productivity and efficiency in the business.
  • Among device type, the smartphone segment held dominant position in the market in 2019 and is expected to retain its dominance during the forecast period. This is owing to increasing demand for live streaming from consumers. For instance, the online video streaming market is expected to exceed US$ 70,000 million in 2021 from US$ 30,000 million in 2016.
  • Major players operating in the global contactless payments market include Thales Group, Infineon Technologies AG, Ingenico Group, Wirecard, VeriFone, Inc., Giesecke+Devrient GmbH, IDEMIA, Track Innovations LTD., Identiv, Inc., CPI Card Group Inc., Setomatic Systems, Valitor, PAX, PINPAD, Mobeewave, alcineo, and Paycor, Inc.

Source: https://www.fintechnews.org/contactless-payments-market-to-reach-us-26-3-billion-by-2027/

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