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Saudi Arabia led GCC in number of phishing attacks in Q2: Kaspersky report

Saudi Arabia led GCC in number of phishing attacks in Q2: Kaspersky report

There were 973,061 phishing attacks in KSA, with UAE following with 617,347 in the quarter

There were almost a million phishing attempts detected by Kaspersky in Saudi Arabia in the second quarter of 2020, the cybersecurity company says in a new report.

Kaspersky’s spam and phishing report for Q2 says its systems detected 973,061 phishing attacks in the kingdom in the three months. The UAE followed with 617,347, Egypt had 492,532, Oman 193,379, Qatar 128,356, Kuwait 106,245 and Bahrain 67,581.

Some new tricks have also been found – from HR dismissal emails to attacks disguised as delivery notifications.

At the peak of the pandemic, organisations responsible for delivering letters and parcels were in a hurry to notify recipients of possible delays. These are the types of emails that fraudsters began to fake, with victims asked to open an attachment to find out the address of a warehouse where they could pick up a shipment that did not reach its destination.

Another relatively original move used by fraudsters was a message containing a small image of a postal receipt. The scammers expected that the intrigued recipient would accept the attachment (which, although it contained ‘JPG’ in the name, was an executable archive) as the full version and decide to open it. The Noon spyware was found in mailings such as these examined by Kaspersky researchers.

Bank phishing attacks in the second quarter were often carried out using emails offering various benefits and bonuses to customers of credit institutions due to the pandemic. Emails received by users contained a file with instructions or links to get more details. As a result, depending on the scheme, fraudsters could gain access to users’ computers, personal data, or authentication data for various services.

The weakening of the economy during the pandemic in several countries caused a wave of unemployment, and fraudsters did not miss this opportunity to strike. Kaspersky experts encountered various mailings that announced, for example, some amendments to the medical leave procedure, or surprised the recipient with the news about their dismissal.

Read: Canon data leaked by Maze ransomware group

“While there was the rare spam mailing sent out without mentioning the pandemic, phishers adapted their old schemes to make them relevant for the current news agenda, as well as come up with new tricks,” commented Tatyana Sidorina, security expert at Kaspersky.

Phishing is a strong attack method because it is done on such a large scale. By sending massive waves of emails under the name of legitimate institutions or promoting fake pages, malicious users increase their chances of success in their hunt for access credentials.

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