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Mobile users no longer safe from phishing scams: Kaspersky Lab

AvantiKumar | Sept. 6, 2012
Global study also reveals use of social engineering tactics means that 50 percent of users cannot recognise a phishing message.

Jimmy Fong - Kaspersky Lab (cwm) modified

PHOTO - Jimmy Fong, channel sales director, SEA, Kaspersky Lab.


A global study shows that 50 percent of users say they do not recognise phishing messages and that mobile users are increasingly being targetted, according to security solutions firm Kaspersky Lab.

Speaking in Kuala Lumpur on 4 September 2012, Kaspersky Lab's channel sales director, SEA, Jimmy Fong, said the company commissioned a survey of more than 11,000 users in Latin and North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa, aged 16 or over. "All the participants were aged 16 or over and had access to the Internet, with more than 90 percent of them going online every day. Both experienced and novice computer users took part in the survey."

Fong said it was not easy to recognise such methods as the social engineering tactics were used. "Where a potential victim is lured onto an infected Web page or is duped into opening a file attached to an e-mail."

"Phishing messages were encountered by about a third of respondents," he said. "About 11 percent of smartphone users and 14 percent of tablet users were targeted by cyber criminals, indicating that mobile users are no longer safe from phishing scams," said Fong.

"The vitally important issue of financial data loss affected 21 percent of respondents," said Fong. "Interestingly, a significant share of PC (13 percent), tablet (eight percent) and smartphone users (six percent) admit they entered their personal data on suspicious looking websites," said Fong.

He said that the study indicated that the mass messaging methods do work. "About half of the O+K Research respondents noticed they have already encountered suspicious correspondence in social networks or e-mail. Thus, 47 percent of PC users got a message with a suspicious link or an attachment, and 29 percent of respondents got letters on the name of a bank (social network, another service, etc.) with a request for confidential information."

Too good to be true

Fong said that most phishing messages were delivered through e-mail or social networks as these are the most widespread means of communication. "According to the same research, 86 percent of PC users check their e-mails regularly, and 73 percent communicate in social networks while 54 percent of users chat on the Internet regularly with their smartphones."

"Moreover, 26 percent of users admitted that their computers had been infected as a result of opening an attachment to a letter, and 13 percent of respondents had entered personal or financial data at suspicious pages," he said. "Therefore when fighting against fake and infected messages and websites, instead of relying upon your own efforts, it is better to use specific solutions such as Safe Money technology, which is part of the Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 suite."


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