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Microsoft and Zoom were the most impersonated brands in 2020

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/wk1003mike)

Microsoft’s collaboration platform Teams and video conferencing service Zoom both experienced unprecedented growth in 2020, as the pandemic took hold and employees everywhere were sent to work from home. 

As a result of this newfound popularity, the two services also became the most frequently impersonated among fraudsters and cybercriminals. 

A new report from VPN provider Atlas VPN claims that four in five (80 percent) brand email phishing campaigns imitated either Microsoft or Zoom last year.

Between the two, Microsoft Teams was responsible for 28,000 (70 percent) of phishing attempts, while Zoom was impersonated in just over 3,800 (nine percent). Amazon rounds out the top three, with its branding found in more than 2,700 phishing emails.

In total, over twelve percent of all last year’s phishing emails used brand impersonation tactics, Atlas VPN said.

In general, the technology sector was the most popular among fraudsters. Tech companies, such as Microsoft, Netflix, DocuSign, LinkedIn, Apple, Dropbox, and ADP, were used in 72 percent of all brand email phishing campaigns. Telecoms companies were also popular, with the likes of Zoom, RingCentral, eFax, Xerox, and AT&T accounting for 14 percent of phishing attempts in 2020.