A report called "Spam and Phishing in 2017" by Kaspersky Lab shows that cybercriminals have watched global events and used popular topics such as FIFA 2018 and Bitcoin to trick users and steal their money or personal information.
"Spammers have proven themselves to be good actors, constantly monitoring global issues and important events around the world, in order to attract and take advantage of victims. Kaspersky Lab's ongoing research into spam and phishing has confirmed that the methods used by offenders are effective due to diminished attention and unconditional user confidence. When these risk factors are encountered, users are more likely to follow false instructions, "the authors report.
"While in 2017 the world was deeply prepared for FIFA 2018, spammers also sent fraudulent messages on the subject to the victims. They used official event logos or information about organizers and sponsors and announced users about alleged free cash prizes or free tickets they would have won, "the report said.
Another popular theme for spam and phishing in 2017 was given by cryptomonads, as the Bitcoin price has increased considerably. In the third quarter of 2017, Kaspersky Lab researchers saw an increase in the number of "block tricks", and by the end of the year they recorded an expanded arsenal of spam tools
According to Kaspersky Lab's research, criminals used tricks such as disguised websites in cryptomonas exchange offices and fake mining services, that is, the use of specialized data centers that can be hired. But in all these cases, instead of winning, users have become victims and have lost money
"As part of traditional fraud schemes, such as false lottery winnings, offenders have begun to use Bitcoin as a bait and, in addition to spam databases, they have been offered for sale and databases with emails for criptoonede users, promising fabulous earnings, "the report said.
Moreover, "offenders distributed various types of malware in spamming emails under the pretext of distributing tools to earn Bitcoin coins or instructions for cryptomonade exchange. However, the most important part is the fact that Cryptolocker (whose creators requested redemption in Bitcoin) had a smaller number of spam messages than last year
"Overall, the average spam volume in 2017 dropped to 56.63%, down by 1.68 percentage points from 2016. At the same time, the number of phishing attacks increased: Kaspersky Lab Anti- Phishing was triggered 246.2 million times on Kaspersky Lab users' computers, an increase of nearly 59% compared to 2016. "
"Although we saw a slight decrease in spam activity in 2017, during the year the authors did not lose any opportunity to steal personal information from users, paying attention to what is happening in the world. As sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup or other events take place, their activity will increase, "said Darya Gudkova, expert spam analyst at Kaspersky Lab
"In 2018, we are expecting growth and development of spam and phishing - over cryptomonas - apart from Bitcoin, which has been used intensively last year, as well as pump and dump schemes," says specialists.
Other trends and statistics since 2017 highlighted by Kaspersky Lab researchers are:
- The most popular source of spam was the US (13.21%), followed by China (11.25%) and Vietnam (9.85%). The top 10 sources are India, Germany, Russia, Brazil, France and Italy
- The most spammed country was Germany (16.25%), which recorded a slight increase of 2.12 percentage points compared to 2016. The other top 10 countries are China, Russia, Japan, Great Britain, Italy , Brazil, Vietnam, France and the United Arab Emirates
- The highest percentage of users affected by phishing were in Brazil (29.02%). In total, 15.9% of unique users of Kaspersky Lab products worldwide were attacked by phishing
Kaspersky Lab recommends that individual users install a secure solution, and companies are advised to use dedicated security solutions to detect and block phishing, malicious malicious software, and spam