There has been a dramatic increase in phishing attacks over the past few months with South Africa having become the second most attacked country, according to an analysis of worldwide phishing trends. SYNAQ, leading provider of cloud based messaging and communication services in South Africa, looks at both international and local data to get an insight on global trends and local risks.
There were 450 000 attacks in 2013 valued at USD $5,9 billion, up 8,5% from the previous year. This translates to an 87% in attacked users. One third of all attacks are against financial institutions which peaked in October with 62 000 attacks (possibly due to Christmas credit campaigns beginning at this time). The most targeted platforms are banks and financial institutes at 20,64%, search engines at 16,74% (Yahoo- 9,85%, Google- 6,89%) and social platforms at 9,69%. The USA accounts for 63% of international attacks, the UK for 10,3%, Germany for 7,3%, India for 7% and then South Africa- 5%
Globally, 87,91% of phishing links arrive via browser and 12,09% via email. Suspicious subject lines to watch out for (as well as locally) include:
- Invitation to connect on LinkedIn
- Mail delivery failed: returning message to sender
- Dear <insert bank name here> Customer
- Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender
Local Phishing Trends as Identified by SYNAQ
Phishing attempts in South Africa are growing at a rate of 32% year-on-year. Activity peaked in October with 206 419 attacks and 1 158 665 successfully blocked attacks in 2013. By May 2014, South Africa was ranked as second most attacked country in the world. The most popular phishing attack methods are via URL with 85,7% of attacks, through Webforms with 13,9% of attacks and from Malware with 0,4% of attacks. Phishing is often linked to current topical issues, such as the opening of tax season, during which time consumers may be more vulnerable to appropriately themed phishing attempts.
Financial organisations seem to be the epi-centre of phishing targets with 85% of all attacks in 2013 having been made on institutions such as ABSA Bank (495 365 attacks), SARS (283 960) and FNB (207 096).
South Africa’s growing internet community makes for easy picking. The combination of factors has left the country vulnerable: a young population with newly employed school leavers, an increase in online marketing activities as the digital age developes and an older generation of South Africans becoming active online for the first time – naive to underhanded phishing tactics. As the phishing season seems nowhere near ending, companies globally continue to arm themselves by bolstering their secuirty against online and email bourne threats.
SYNAQ produces one of the toughest cloud-based messaging infrastructures available today. Since 2004, SYNAQ's flexible solutions have processed billions of emails while providing adaptive security against South African-centric mail borne threats unmatched by international vendors. Visit Synaq.com to find a better way to protect your business from phishing attacks.
Phishing season explodes in South Africa