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Businesses warned on winter phishing scams

Winter is phishing season, and organisations and individuals alike should be extra vigilant during the holidays. This is according to a new report from F5 Labs, which claims that fraud incidents in October, November, and December usually jump more than 50 per cent, compared to a yearly average.

Most of the time, hackers and fraudsters impersonate big tech companies. In 70 per cent of incidents, it's tech companies that get impersonated. Out of that number, 58 per cent of attempts revolve around Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, Adobe, Dropbox and DocuSign.

Even though experts will tell you that everyone has equal chance of being targeted, financial organisations are most frequently in the fraudsters' crosshairs. Thirteen of the top 20 fastest growing targets were financial organisations, with banks accounting for 55 per cent of these attacks. Five of those were major EU businesses.

According to the report, the best way to avoid getting phished is to train employees to be aware, and to be able to spot a phishing attempt. Companies that ran 11 or more training campaigns reduced employee phishing click-through rates to 13 per cent.

“We’re in the middle of a cyber-crimewave where phishers and fraudsters take advantage of people at their most distracted,” said David Warburton, Senior EMEA Threat Research Evangelist, F5 Networks.

“It is prime season for individuals giving up credentials or inadvertently installing malware. Businesses are wrapping up end-of-year activities, key staff are on vacation, and record numbers of online holiday shoppers are searching for the best deals, looking for last-minute credit or feeling generous when charities come calling.”

F5 Labs/ full report can be found on this link (opens in new tab).

Image Credit: YouTube

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.