Facebook edges up phishing list

Social networking site replaced eBay as second most popular phishing target in July, while the United States and India distributed more than half of the world's spam, reports Kaspersky.
Written by Tyler Thia, Contributor

Facebook has overtaken eBay to become the second most popular target for phishers, a Kaspersky Lab report on worldwide spam activity has revealed.

The social networking site was targeted in 12.81 percent of phishing messages in July--more than triple that in the month of June, Kaspersky said Tuesday in a statement.

E-commerce site PayPal remained in the top spot after being targeted in 53.48 percent of all phishing attacks in July.

According to the Russian security vendor, fraudsters sent out e-mail alerts persuading clueless Facebook users to visit a bogus site and enter their credentials, by way of "friend messages" purporting to have information about a user that was attacked. This was unlike traditional phishing attempts where cybercriminals attempt to scare users by claiming their accounts may be blocked.

In the same month, Google exited Kaspersky's list of the top 5 most popular phishing brands, as the number of attacks on its users decreased by one percentage point. However, the attacks had also become more creative, the company warned. One phishing attack, for example, imitated a link to the Google Accounts FAQ page.

Links to phishing sites were found in 0.03 percent of all e-mail traffic in July, Kaspersky added.

US, India top sources of spam
The report also noted that the average percentage of e-mail traffic in July that was spam was 82.9 percent. A low of 77.9 percent was recorded on Jul. 20, while a peak value of 90.1 percent was reached on Jul. 25 and 31.

The United States and India maintained their leading positions as the leading sources of spam, at 17.2 percent and 9 percent, respectively. Together, the two contributed 1.5 times more than the amount distributed in June.

The most noticeable change came from Europe, with the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy edging into the top 10 list of spam-distributing countries, according to the report. The total volume of spam originating from these combined territories in July increased by 50 percent compared with the previous month.

Asian economies China, with a spam contribution of 2.7 percent, South Korea (2.6 percent) and Indonesia (1.9 percent) were among the top spam relaying countries. Hong Kong and Taiwan, which accounted for 1.8 percent and 1.3 percent of global spam volumes, respectively, also found their way in the top 20.

In a roundup of July's malware attacks, Kaspersky found that Trojans from Oficla family formed the majority, averaging 14.73 percent of malware distributed via e-mail. Computers infected with these Trojans will install malicious software on its own, while some variants of the program have downloader functionality.

However, mass attacks in the HTML format that contain Pegel and imitate notifications from social networks are seemingly a thing of the past--this script downloader has disappeared from the Top 10 list completely, said Kaspersky.

July's compilation also saw the comeback of two variants of Zbot, a program designed to steal users' confidential data.

The security vendor added that spammers' distribution methods were not new, with imitation e-cards and bank notifications among their most popular tricks.

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