Cyber criminals have been following a global agenda by using hot topics such as FIFA 2018 and Bitcoin to fool users and steal their money or personal information in the last 12 months, according to Kaspersky Lab’s Spam and Phishing in 2017 report.

Spammers have shown themselves to be thoughtful actors, the study said, instantly monitoring global issues and major events worldwide with the purpose of capitalizing on their victim’s attention. Kaspersky Lab’s ongoing research on spam and phishing activities confirms the methods used by spammers are effective, due to users’ decreased attention and increased unconditional trust. These factors combined mean that people are more likely to follow false instructions.

Cyber criminals have been using tricks such as Web sites disguised as cryptocurrency exchanges or fake services offering cloud mining. But in all cases, users became victims, losing money instead of earning any profit.

Pentgaon spies are struggling to keep up with hackers from North Korea and Russia.
Pentgaon spies are struggling to keep up with hackers from North Korea and Russia.

In more traditional fraud schemes, such as fake lottery winnings, criminals have also started to use Bitcoin as bait. In addition to targeted address databases advertised through spam, databases with emails for cryptocurrency users have also been offered for purchase, promising great opportunities.

Overall, the average amount of spam in 2017 decreased to 57 percent, which is 1.7 percent less than in 2016. At the same time, the number of phishing attacks increased. The Kaspersky Lab anti-phishing system was triggered 246,231,645 times on the computers of Kaspersky Lab users, which is 59 percent higher than in 2016.

The most popular source of spam was the U.S. (13 percent of the total), followed by China (11 percent) and Vietnam (10 percent). Others in the top 10 include India, Germany, Russia, Brazil, France and Italy.

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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.