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Financial phishing attacks saw major rise over the holidays

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The holiday season was particularly merry for cybercriminals who looked to take advantage of the rush hours to try and scam people out of their data or hard-earned money.

According to a new report by cybersecurity experts Kaspersky, there has been a 9.5 per cent increase in financial phishing (opens in new tab) in the last quarter of last year. That brings the overall percentage of financial phishing to over half (52.61 per cent) of all phishing attempts late last year.

Spam and scam activities were also up and more varied.

Looking at individual tactics, Kaspersky says that large retailers are still mostly used as bait. The researchers found fake Amazon sites that offer Christmas promotions, all with the goal of stealing Amazon Prime credentials.

Despite the relative success of phishing (opens in new tab), it’s still not the only tactic employed by criminals. Spam was also on the rise, where hackers promised Christmas donations, for example.

“The holiday season is a time for impulse purchases and rash decisions. Pressure to get a good deal or buy presents can mean that users are distracted, making it easier for cybercriminals to take advantage of them,” comments Tatyana Sidorina, security analyst.

“The hope of securing an amazing gift at a fantastic price, especially at this time of year, is a hard one to break. Criminals capitalise on that hope all year long, with the end of the year an especially fruitful time for them.”

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.