Cyber crooks use WannaCry fears to boost spam and phishing

Published
  • August 31 2017, 6:30am EDT

Cyber criminals involved in spam distribution tried to capitalize on public fears of the WannaCry ransomware epidemic during the second quarter of 2017, with spam and phishing emails, according to a report from security technology provider Kaspersky Lab.

Also during the quarter, there was an increased amount of mass mailings targeting corporate networks and mass mailings of malicious Trojans, the study said.

The WannaCry ransomware attack affected more than 200,000 computers worldwide, resulting in massive panic, and spammers instantly capitalized on the opportunity. Researchers detected a large amount of spam messages offering services such as protection from WannaCry attacks, data recovery, and educational workshops and courses for users.

Darya Gudkova
Darya Gudkova

In addition, spammers successfully implemented a traditional scheme of fraudulent offers to install software updates on affected computers, which instead redirected users to phishing pages aimed at stealing the personal data of victims.

Another top trend in the second quarter is the number of mass mailings targeted at corporate networks. Based on Kaspersky Lab research, these have expanded since the beginning of the year.

Overall, the volume of malicious mass mailings have increased by 17 percent, according to the report.

“During the second quarter of the year, we have seen that the main trends in spam and phishing attacks have continued to grow,” said Darya Gudkova, spam analyst expert at Kaspersky Lab. “The use of WannaCry in mass mailings proves that cyber criminals are very attentive and reactive to international events.”

The average amount of spam has increased up to 57 percent since the beginning of the year. The Kaspersky Lab Anti-Phishing system was triggered 46,557,343 times on the computers of Kaspersky Lab users during the quarter. Overall, 8 percent unique users of Kaspersky Lab products worldwide were attacked by phishing.

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Bob Violino

Bob Violino

Bob Violino is a freelance technology and business writer who covers a variety of topics, including big data and analytics, cloud computing, information security and mobile technology.