In Q2 2017, cyber criminals involved in spam distribution tried to capitalize on public fears when the WannaCry ransomware epidemic struck in May. Knowing that there are lots of people out there infected with this ransomware, and searching for ways to get their encrypted data back, fraudsters sent out spam and phishing emails, offering users different services to fight against the epidemics. This is one of the key findings of Kaspersky Lab’s “Spam and phishing in Q2 2017” report.
The WannaCry ransomware attack affected more than 200,000 computers across the globe, resulting in massive panic, and spammers instantly capitalized on the opportunity. Researchers detected a large amount of messages offering services such as protection from WannaCry attacks, data recovery, and, moreover, educational workshops and courses for users. In addition, spammers successfully implemented a traditional scheme of fraudulent offers to install software updates on affected computers. However, links were redirecting users to phishing pages, where the personal data of victims would have been stolen.
One of the main trends in the past three months is the number of mass mailings targeted at corporate networks. Based on Kaspersky Lab research, these have expanded since the beginning of the year. Spammers began to widely disguise malicious mailings as corporate dialogues, by using the identities of corporate mail services, including real signatures, logos and even banking information. Kaspersky Lab experts highlight that most attacks on the corporate sector have financial goals.
Other important trends and statistics in Q2, highlighted by Kaspersky Lab researchers, include the following:
•The average amount of spam has increased up to 56.97%. Vietnam became the most popular source of spam, overtaking the U.S. and China. The top 10 countries include Russia, Brazil, France, Iran and the Netherlands.
•The Necurs botnet is still active. However, the experts spotted a decrease in the volume of spam sent from this botnet, and its instability.
•The country most targeted by malicious mailshots was Germany. The leader of the previous period, China, came second, followed by U.K., Japan and Russia. Other popular targets include Brazil, Italy, Vietnam, France and the U.S.
•The Kaspersky Lab Anti-Phishing system was triggered 46,557,343 times on the computers of Kaspersky Lab users. The largest percentage of affected users were in Brazil (18.09%). Overall, 8.26% unique users of Kaspersky Lab products worldwide were attacked by phishing.
•As in Q1, the main targets of phishing attacks remained the same and were primarily from the financial sector: banks, payments services and online stores.