Microsoft was the most impersonated brand in phishing attacks in 2021

Published : Thursday, April 28, 2022, 9:00 am
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Phishing actors frequently impersonate well-known brands, taking advantage of consumer trends to scam unsuspecting customers.

According to the recent findings by the Atlas VPN team, Microsoft and illegal streaming sites were the most impersonated brands in phishing attacks in 2021. Furthermore, the retail and government sectors experienced the most significant growth in phishing attacks last year.

Cybercriminals impersonated Microsoft product pages in 36.6% of phishing attacks in 2021. Microsoft has a wide range of products used by millions of users globally who could become potential victims of a phishing attack.

Threat actors imitated illegal streaming websites in 13.6% of phishing attacks. Illegal streaming websites are generally dodgy, as they do not have decent security. However, when cybercriminals put their hands on them, it is a disaster waiting to happen.

COVID-19-themed phishing attacks accounted for 7.2% of social engineering scams. COVID-related phishing websites can be exceptionally deceptive to internet users as they are relatively new.

Cybercriminals impersonated Telegram in 6.5% of phishing attacks. At the same time, Amazon-related phishing attacks accounted for 5.8% of social engineering attacks.

Cybersecurity writer at Atlas VPN Vilius Kardelis shares his thoughts on phishing attacks:

“Phishing attacks require the user to recognize and evaluate the potential danger. However, people are prone to making mistakes, and a well social engineered attack could trick almost anyone. Therefore, being aware of how phishing attacks work is essential when mitigating threat risks.”

- Phishing targets retail businesses and government

Threat actors launch phishing attacks on industries that hold large amounts of sensitive customer information.

The retail and wholesale industry suffered 436% more phishing attacks in 2021 than in 2020. When phishing attacks target retailers, the actual losses are consumer trust and brand reputation.

Phishing attacks on the government sector increased by 110% in 2021. State-sponsored threat actors usually perform cyberattacks against the government.

The finance and insurance industry experienced a 101% jump in phishing attacks in 2021. On the other hand, the phishing rate in the healthcare industry dropped by 59%.

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