LinkedIn is the most imitated brand by cybercriminals undertaking phishing scams, according to a recent research report from cybersecurity company Check Point.
As part of the company’s 2022 Q1 Brand Phishing Report, research indicated which brands cybercriminals imitated to try and scam people out of personal and payment information between January and March.
LinkedIn ranked at the top of imitated brands for the first time in the company’s research. The business networking company was the subject of 52% of global phishing attacks, a 44% increase from the previous quarter.
This puts LinkedIn above Google, Microsoft, and Apple as the most imitated brand by cybercriminals in recent months. According to Check Point, social networks are currently the most targeted category for phishing attempts.
These phishing scams involve cybercriminals attempting to copy the branding of reputable organisations with the intention of capturing sensitive information. As part of a phishing attempt, perpetrators send emails or messages including hyperlinks and URLs that appear near-identical to the real thing. However, these links direct unsuspecting users to fake destinations and trick them into giving credentials to cybercriminals.
What are the most imitated brands alongside LinkedIn?
Many recognisable online brands make up the list of top brands most imitated in phishing attempts. The subject of 52% of phishing attempts globally, LinkedIn is currently well ahead of the next most imitated brand, delivery company DHL (14%).
- LinkedIn (52%)
- DHL (14%)
- Google (7%)
- Microsoft (6%)
- FedEx (6%)
- WhatsApp (4%)
- Amazon (2%)
- Maersk (1%)
- AliExpress (0.8%)
- Apple (0.8%)
How to avoid falling for phishing attempts
There are several factors to consider to keep your personal information safe online. First and most importantly, carefully read each email or message you receive, as you can pick up on multiple clues revealing its legitimacy. Poor grammar, misspellings of brand names and generic non-personalised greetings are common giveaways.
Do not click on any links or attachments from emails you do not recognise. Some phishing attempts include requests to urgently change your passwords or log into an account – be immediately wary of such directives. Even if you’re only slightly unsure of the sender’s intentions, it’s best to avoid clicking on anything in case it’s malicious.
Instead, open a separate web browser and visit any websites of concern by typing the correct URL manually. This way, you can be sure you’re visiting the real deal and not a cybercriminal’s imitation. By manually visiting a website, such as a social media account, and logging in via the correct page, you can check if you’ve received any legitimately urgent notifications. If no notifications exist, you can safely report and delete any phishing attempts. Head over to scamwatch.gov.au to report a scam as well as get updates on what else is going around.
Major institutions such as banks will never ask for your personal information via email or text message, so ignore any communications that state otherwise. If in doubt, contact your bank or similar institution directly to resolve any confusion.
These are just some simple tips to stay safe against phishing attempts online. As the research data suggests, cybercriminals are constantly changing their approach, so it helps to be vigilant as trends evolve.
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