(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Less than one per cent of all global phishing attacks were aimed at the Middle East, according to Kaspersky Lab's study, Financial Cyber Threats in 2013'.
Of these, UAE received the maximum attacks with 38.38 per cent, followed by Saudi Arabia with 29.31 per cent, Egypt 10.16 per cent, Qatar 9.64 per cent, Kuwait 6.29 per cent and Oman 6.21 per cent.
Phishing is an act used by cybercriminals to obtain confidential user data with the help of fake web pages imitating Internet resources. According to the data collected for Kaspersky Lab's study, cybercriminals are trying harder than ever to acquire confidential user information and steal money from bank accounts by creating fake sites of financial organisations. 'Last year, 0.69 per cent of global phishing attacks were targeted at the Middle East. In 2013, 31.45 per cent of phishing attacks were trading in the names of leading banks, online stores and e-payment systems, up 8.5 percentage points from the previous year.'
'Unlike malicious software created for particular operating systems, phishing attacks threaten all devices which can access web pages. In 2013 alone, Kaspersky Lab products protected about 39.6mn users from this cyber threat.'
Phishing sites aimed at harvesting users' financial details mainly use brand names of popular online stores, e-payment systems and online banking systems. 'In 2013, the most attractive targets were banks, which were used in 70.6 per cent of all financial phishing. That's a sharp increase from 2012 when bank phishing represented just 52 per cent. Overall, fake bank websites were involved in twice as many (22.2 per cent) phishing attacks in 2013.'
The study said that in 2013, Kaspersky Lab heuristic anti-phishing technologies blocked 330mn attacks, an increase of 22.2 per cent from the previous year. 'Fraudsters use the brand names of major companies with large client databases in search of a big profit. For example, about 60 per cent of all phishing attacks using fake bank pages exploited the names of just 25 organisations.
'Among e-payment systems the phishers' favourites are even more clearly defined: 88.3 per cent of phishing attacks in this category involved one of four international brands: PayPal, American Express, MasterCard and Visa.'
It stated that for several years in a row Amazon.com has been the most popular cover for phishing attacks exploiting the names of online stores. 'Over the reported period its name was used in 61 per cent of online trade-related phishing attacks. The top three also included Apple and eBay, but both lagged behind Amazon.'
Sergey Lozhkin, senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab said, ''Phishing attacks are so popular because they are simple to deploy and extremely effective. It is often not easy for even advanced Internet users to distinguish a well-designed fraudulent site from a legitimate page, which makes it even more important to install a specialised protection solution. In addition, phishing causes reputational and financial damage to organisations that see their brands exploited in phishing attacks.''
The standard anti-phishing mechanisms in Kaspersky Lab security solutions for home users and small businesses are supplemented with safe money technology that protects user data during online banking or payment sessions.
''Phishers don't just imitate the websites of financial institutions - they also frequently attack via social networking sites. In 2013, the number of attacks using fake pages of Facebook and other social networking sites grew by 6.8 percentage points and accounted for 35.4 per cent of the total,'' stated the Kaspersky Lab tea