Brazil tops the list of phishing victims: Kaspersky

Kaspersky’s yearly phishing report, which was released last month, covered the total of 2020 and its phishing activities. The phishing field, or pond, changed rapidly over the year in response to massive changes in daily activities due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These scammers and cybercriminals launch more than 3 billion phishing emails per day. Brazil has become a primary target topping the charts with the highest number of attacked users. The new statistics show that 1 in every 5 users worldwide is experiencing some form of a phishing attack.

While many of these methods of attack have remained the same, posing as government, corporate, or social media entities, they have now shifted to exploiting the pandemic itself. COVID-19 relief, video meetings (Such as Zoom), postal services, and online shopping services have become primary vectors as attackers adapt to the massive influx of users working from home.  Attackers will pose as government officials requesting information for stimulus or unemployment procedures, or as popular online shopping outlets such as Amazon or eBay support to capitalize on the increased number of online shoppers.

The report suggests that the primary reason email phishing attacks have increased while other phishing methods have seen a massive downfall is contributed to the expanding work from home culture. Many corporations have made changes to their policies on remote work, and some of these organizations are even closing offices to save space and expense while also allowing, or encouraging, more workers to finish out the day at home.

Top Country Targeted by phishing emails

When looking at just phishing email campaigns, Spain took first for the most targeted country, more than doubling its previous share at 3.45% of campaigns up to 8.48%. This knocked the previous title owner, Germany, down as it dropped to 7.28%. Countries also mentioned are Italy at the fourth place with 5.45% followed by Vietnam with 5,20%, the UAE with 4.46%, Mexico with 3.34%, Brazil with 3.33%, Turkey with 2.92% and Malaysia with 2.46%.

Top countries by number of attacked victims

The country with the highest number of attempts at opening phishing websites in 2020 is Brazil with 19.94%. Followed by Portugal at 19.73%, and France at 17.90. (Refer to Figure 1 for the top 10

Figure 1

Source: Kaspersky

In the last year, cybercriminals have capitalized on the pandemic environment. They have lured users into clicking malicious links, invited potential victims to spoofed video conferences, and pushed users into registering with new corporate services.

With the changes made over the last year, many of the changes in corporate workplace infrastructure are here to stay, and these major trends will stay relevant in the following years. Smartphone users should also be prepared, as the trend of phishing and spam messages received through texting and applications like WhatsApp and Discord are also projected to increase in the years to come.

Read the Securelist by Kaspersky report here.                              

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