In 2013, global volumes of phishing emails* dropped significantly compared with 2012. This is great news: users have become more savvy to the signs of mass phishing. Also, adoption of email authentication standards DKIM, SPF, and DMARC have begun to hamper spammers’ ability to pose as trusted brands.
The bad news is: even though mass phishing is down, spear phishing is not only on the rise, but is becoming more sophisticated. The APWG (Anti-Phishing Working Group) found that the number of brands targeted by spear phishing has risen.
To target an individual, cybercriminals gather information about the person through social media or other public outlets and use that information to create personalized lures. Often, spear phishing targets people with access to highly secure data — such as government officials, tech leaders, or journalists.
In 2013, organized forces around the world executed highly sophisticated phishing scams to target a variety of organizations and leaders. Below, we have detailed the top 7 phishing scams from 2013:
Though these scams list only a fraction of those perpetrated, worldwide, they show the breadth of organizations and people targeted, the diversity of reasons for targeting individuals and companies, and the sophistication of the criminals.
In short, they show the even more urgent need for every organization to employ strong email security in 2014.
Be safe out there, email users! Protect yourself.
*Phishing email is email sent from a cybercriminal to lure someone to take an action that downloads software onto their machine. This software has been written to perform a malicious action, such as stealing account information or other valuable data.
Wayne received his Bachelor of Science in Applied Science from Kingston University.
Helen received her BA (Honours) Business studies degree from Nottingham Trent University.
Tunc holds a Bachelor of Computer Science from Macquarie University.
Cecilia has Bachelor of Economy with an MBA for Business and Technology Management
Kevin received his Bachelors from Bentley University in Waltham MA.
Greg has BSBAs in Economics, Finance and Real Estate from University of Denver and an MBA from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.
As Senior Vice President of Marketing, Kate leads all of Validity’s marketing efforts.
Kate holds a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Language and Literature from Regis College.
Eduardo has practiced law for more than 20 years in both corporate and law firm environments. Eduardo has broad legal experience in SaaS commercial transactions, risk management, M&A, due diligence, entity and product integrations, intellectual property, data privacy, regulatory compliance, and corporate governance.
Eduardo has an LL.M. in Securities and Financial Regulation from Georgetown University Law Center, a J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and a B.A. from the University of Dallas.