Home SecurityPhishing Spam and phishing in Q1 2019

Spam and phishing in Q1 2019

by Maria Vergelis

Quarterly highlights

Valentine’s Day

As per custom, phishing timed to coincide with lovey-dovey day was geared toward swindling helpful confidential info out of starry-eyed customers, similar to financial institution card particulars. The matters exploited by cybercriminals ranged from on-line flower retailers to relationship websites.

However most frequently, customers have been invited to order items for family members and purchase drugs similar to Viagra. Clicking/tapping the hyperlink in such messages resulted within the sufferer’s fee particulars being despatched to the cybercriminals.

New Apple merchandise

Late March noticed the revealing of Apple’s newest merchandise, which fraudsters have been fast to pounce on, as regular. Within the run-up to the occasion, the variety of makes an attempt to redirect customers to rip-off web sites imitating official Apple companies rose considerably.

Development within the variety of makes an attempt to redirect customers to phishing Apple websites earlier than the presentation (download)

Pretend Apple ID login pages

Scammers polluted Web visitors with phishing emails seemingly from Apple to attempt to idiot recipients into following a hyperlink and getting into their login credentials on a faux Apple ID login web page.

Pretend technical help

Pretend buyer help emails are one of the crucial fashionable kinds of on-line fraud. The variety of such messages has grown fairly considerably of late. Hyperlinks to faux technical help websites (accompanied by rave opinions) could be seen each on devoted boards and social networks.

Pretend “Kaspersky Lab help service” accounts

All these profiles that we detected in Q1 have one factor in frequent: they provide help in issues associated to at least one or one other firm merchandise, with the promise of specifically educated, extremely certified workers supposedly prepared and ready to assist. Evidently, it’s not free. Not solely do customers not have their problem resolved, they’re more likely to be defrauded as properly.

New Instagram “options”

Final yr, we wrote that phishers and different scammers had moved past mailing lists and into the realm of the favored social community Instagram. This development continued, with fraudsters exploiting the service to the total — not solely leaving hyperlinks to phishing assets in feedback, but in addition registering accounts, paying for promoting posts, and even attractive celebrities to distribute content material.

Cybercriminal advertisers use the identical strategies to lure victims by promising services or products at what appears an awesome worth.

As regular in such schemes, the “purchaser” is requested for all kinds of data, from title to financial institution particulars. It goes with out saying that every one the person will get is their personal information compromised.

Mailshot phishing

In Q1, we registered a number of phishing mailings within the type of computerized notifications seemingly on behalf of main companies in control of managing reputable mailing lists. Scammers tried to pressure recipients to comply with the phishing hyperlinks below the pretext of verifying an account or updating fee info. Generally faux domains have been used with names just like actual companies, whereas different occasions hacked websites redirected the sufferer to a faux authorization kind.

Monetary spam by way of the ACH system

In Q1, we noticed a big surge in spam mailings geared toward customers of the Automated Clearing Home (ACH), a US-based e-payment system that processes huge portions of shopper and small-business transactions. These mailings consisted of pretend notifications in regards to the standing of transfers supposedly made by bizarre customers or corporations. Such messages contained each malicious attachments (archives, paperwork) and hyperlinks to obtain information contaminated with malware.

“Dream job” provides from spammers

In Q3, we registered spam messages containing “dream job” provides. This quarter, we logged one other main mailing matter: messages have been despatched supposedly on behalf of well-known firms positive to draw a number of potential candidates. Recipients have been invited to register within the job search system without cost by putting in a particular app on their laptop to entry the database. When attempting to obtain this system from the “cloud service,” the person was proven a pop-up window titled DDoS Safety and a message with a hyperlink pointing to the location of an internet recruitment firm (the names of a number of fashionable recruitment companies have been used within the mailing). If the person adopted it, a malicious DOC file containing Trojan.MSOffice.SAgent.gen was downloaded to their laptop, which in flip downloaded Trojan-Banker.Win32.Gozi.bqr onto the sufferer’s machine.

Ransomware and cryptocurrency

As we anticipated, cybercriminal curiosity in cryptocurrency didn’t wane. Spammers proceed to wring cryptocurrency funds out of customers by the use of “sextortion” — a subject we wrote about last year.

In Q1 2019, we uncovered a moderately uncommon rip-off mailing scheme whereby cybercriminals despatched messages within the title of a CIA worker allegedly with entry to a case file on the recipient for possession and distribution of digital pornographic supplies involving minors.

The fictional worker, whose title different from message to message, claimed to have discovered the sufferer’s particulars within the case file (which have been really harvested from social networks/on-line chats/boards, and so forth.). It was mentioned to be a part of a world operation to arrest greater than 2,000 pedophilia suspects in 27 international locations worldwide. Nonetheless, the “worker” occurred to know that the sufferer was a well-off particular person with a fame to guard — for which a fee of 10,000 {dollars} in bitcoin was demanded.

Taking part in on folks’s concern of personal information being disclosed, the scammers employed the identical tips as final yr, mentioning entry to private information, compromising pornographic supplies, and so forth. However this time, to make the message extra convincing and intimidating, a CIA officer was used as a bogeyman.

Malicious assaults on the company sector

In Q1, the corporate sector of the Runet was hit by a malicious spam attack. The content material imitated actual enterprise correspondence, and the messages themselves have been seemingly from companions of the sufferer firm.

We additionally noticed malicious mailings geared toward stealing the monetary info of worldwide firms by way of distributing faux messages within the title of a US firm allegedly offering info companies. Apart from the attachment, there was nothing in any respect within the message. The dearth of textual content was seemingly supposed to immediate the sufferer to open the connected doc containing Trojan.MSOffice.Alien.gen, which then downloaded and put in Trojan-Banker.Win32.Trickster.gen on the pc.

Assaults on the banking sector

Banks are firmly established as prime phishing targets. Scammers attempt to make their faux messages as plausible as potential by substituting reputable domains into the sender’s handle, copying the format of official emails, devising believable pretexts, and so forth. In Q1, phishers exploited high-profile occasions to influence victims of the legitimacy of the acquired message — for instance, they inserted into the message physique a phrase in regards to the Christchurch terror assault. The attackers hoped that this, plus the title of a New Zealand financial institution because the sender, would add credibility to the message. The e-mail itself acknowledged that the financial institution had launched some new safety features that required an replace of the account particulars to make use of.

The hyperlink took the person to a phishing web site mimicking the login web page of the New Zealand financial institution in query. All information entered on the location was transferred to the cybercriminals when the Login button was clicked/tapped.

Statistics: spam

Proportion of spam in mail visitors

Proportion of spam in international mail visitors, This autumn 2018 – Q1 2019 (obtain) (download)

In Q1 2019, the best share of spam was recorded in March at 56.33%. The common share of spam in international mail visitors got here to 55.97%, which is sort of similar (+0.07 p.p.) to This autumn 2018.

Proportion of spam in Runet mail visitors, This autumn 2018 – Q1 2019 (obtain) (download)

Peak spam in visitors within the Russian phase of the Web got here in January (56.19%). The common worth for the quarter was 55.48%, which is 2.01 p.p. larger than in This autumn.

Sources of spam by nation

Sources of spam by nation, Q1 2019 (obtain) (download)

As is customary, the highest spam-originating international locations have been China (15.82%) and the US (12.64%); the opposite Prime Three common, Germany, was all the way down to fifth place in Q1 (5.86%), ceding third place to Russia (6.98%) and permitting Brazil (6.95%) to sneak into fourth. In sixth place got here France (4.26%), adopted by Argentina (3.42%), Poland (3.36%), and India (2.58%). The Prime 10 is rounded off by Vietnam (2.18%).

Spam e-mail dimension

Spam e-mail dimension, This autumn 2018 – Q1 2019 (obtain) (download)

In Q1 2019, the share of very small emails (as much as 2 KB) in spam elevated in opposition to This autumn 2018 by 7.14 p.p. to 73.98%. The share of two–5 KB messages fell to eight.27% (down 3.15 p.p.). 10–20 KB messages made up 5.11% of spam visitors, up 1.08 p.p. on This autumn. The share of messages sized 20–50 KB amounted to three.00% (0.32 p.p. progress in opposition to This autumn 2018).

Malicious attachments: malware households

TOP 10 malicious households in mail visitors, Q1 2019 (obtain) (download)

In Q1 2019, the most typical malware in mail visitors turned out to be Exploit.MSOffice.CVE-2017-11882, with a share of seven.73%. In second place was Backdoor.Win32.Androm (7.62%), and Worm.Win32.WBVB (4.80%) took third. Fourth place went to a different exploit for Microsoft Workplace within the form of Exploit.MSOffice.CVE-2018-0802 (2.81%), whereas Trojan-Spy.Win32.Midday (2.42%) rounded off the Prime 5.

Nations focused by malicious mailshots

Nations focused by malicious mailshots, Q1 2019 (obtain) (download)

First place within the Prime Three international locations by variety of Mail Anti-Virus triggers but once more went to Germany (11.88%). It’s adopted by Vietnam (6.24%) in second place and Russia (5.70%) in third.

Statistics: phishing

In Q1 2019, the Anti-Phishing system prevented 111,832,308 makes an attempt to direct customers to rip-off web sites. 12.11% of all Kaspersky Lab customers worldwide skilled an assault.

Assault geography

In Q1 2019, as within the earlier quarter, the nation with the biggest share of customers attacked by phishers was Brazil with 21.66%, up 1.53 p.p.

Geography of phishing assaults, Q1 2019 (obtain) (download)

In second place up from eighth was Australia (17.20%), including 2.42 p.p. however nonetheless 4.46 p.p. behind top-place Brazil. Spain rose one place to 16.96% (+0.87 p.p.), simply above Portugal (16.86%) and Venezuela (16.72%) propping up the Prime 5.

Nation %*
Brazil 21.66
Australia 17.20
Spain 16.96
Portugal 16.81
Venezuela 16.72
Greece 15.86
Albania 15.11
Ecuador 14.99
Rwanda 14.89
Georgia 14.76

*Share of customers on whose computer systems Anti-Phishing was triggered out of all Kaspersky Lab customers within the nation

Organizations below assault

The ranking of assaults by phishers on totally different classes of organizations relies on detections by Kaspersky Lab’s Anti-Phishing part. It’s activated each time the person makes an attempt to open a phishing web page, both by clicking a hyperlink in an e-mail or a social media message, or because of malware exercise. When the part is triggered, a banner is displayed within the browser warning the person a few potential menace.

This quarter, the banking sector stays in first place by variety of assaults — the share of assaults on credit score organizations elevated by 5.23 p.p. in opposition to This autumn final yr to 27.78%.

Distribution of organizations subjected to phishing assaults by class, Q1 2019 (obtain) (download)

Second place went to international Web portals (19.82%), and fee techniques — one other class that features monetary establishments — completed third (17.33%).


In Q1 2019, the typical share of spam in international mail visitors rose by 0.06 p.p. to 55.97%, and the Anti-Phishing system prevented greater than 111,832,308 redirects to phishing websites, up 35,220,650 compared with the earlier reporting interval.

As beforehand, scammers wasted no alternative to take advantage of high-profile media occasions for their very own functions (Apple product launch, New Zealand terror assault). Sextortion has not gone away — quite the opposite, to make such schemes extra plausible, cybercriminals have provide you with new cowl tales in regards to the message senders.

On prime of all that, attackers proceed to make use of social networks to realize their objectives, and have launched promoting campaigns utilizing celebrities to increase their attain.

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