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Apple is most imitated brand for phishing

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/wk1003mike)

Although the coronavirus pandemic is currently the dominant phishing theme, some hackers still opt for the tried and tested method: impersonating popular brands.

According to a new report from Check Point research, Apple is the most broadly impersonated brand of all, with cybercriminals attempting to capitalise on its powerful brand recognition.

In Q4 2019, two percent of all brand phishing attempts related to Apple, rising to ten percent in Q1 2020.

Netflix came in second place, attached to nine percent of all phishing attempts. Check Point researchers believe its surge in popularity among hackers is linked with an uptick in usage caused by quarantine measures.

Yahoo and WhatsApp share the third spot with 6 percent each, while PayPal and Chase Bank were used in five percent of attacks each.

According to Check Point, the technology industry is the most likely to be targeted by brand phishing, followed by banking and the media.

“Cybercriminals continue to exploit users by adopting highly sophisticated phishing attempts via emails, web and mobile applications purporting to be from well-recognised brands which they know will be in high demand at the moment, whether that’s a high profile product launch or just generally tapping into behavioural changes we’ve seen during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Maya Horowitz, Director, Threat Intelligence & Research, Products at Check Point.

“Phishing will continue to be a growing threat in the coming months, especially as criminals continue to exploit the fears and needs of people using essential services from their homes. As always, we encourage users to be vigilant and cautious when divulging personal data.”