New research from Check Point has revealed that Apple was the most imitated brand for phishing attempts during the first quarter of this year.

The firm’s threat intelligence arm, Check Point Research has released its new Brand Phishing Report Q1 2020 highlighting the brands which were most frequently imitated by cybercriminals trying to steal users’ personal information or payment details.

In a brand phishing attack, cybercriminals try to copy the official websites of well-known brands by using similar domain names and web page design. Links to these fake websites are sent to targeted individuals by email or text message though users can also be redirected to these sites while browsing the web or from a fraudulent mobile application. The fake websites often use forms to steal users’ credentials, payment details or other personal information.

Top phishing brands

Apple was the brand most frequently targeted by cybercriminals in Q1 2020 and it rose from seventh place in Q4 2019 to reach the top of Check Point’s list. According to the cybersecurity firm, 10 percent of all brand phishing attempts related to Apple as bad actors tried to capitalize on its strong brand recognition.

Netflix took the second spot with nine percent of all phishing attempts related to the company. The Chase Bank brand rose by three percent from Q4 2019 to take the sixth position with five percent of all phishing attempts seeking to exploit the bank’s brand. The technology sector was the most likely to be targeted by brand phishing followed by banking and media.

When it came to email, Yahoo was the most impersonated brand followed by Microsoft, Outlook and Amazon and on Mobile, Netflix, Apple, WhatsApp and Chase took the top spots.

Director of threat intelligence & research products at Check Point, Maya Horowitz provided further insight on the company’s new report in a blog post, saying:

“Cybercriminals continue to exploit users by adopting highly sophisticated phishing attempts via emails, web and mobile applications purporting to be from well-recognized brands which they know will be in high demand at the moment, whether that’s a high profile product launch or just generally tapping into behavioral changes we’ve seen during the Coronavirus pandemic. Phishing will continue to be a growing threat in the coming months, especially as criminals continue to exploit the fears and needs of people using essential services from their homes. As always, we encourage users to be vigilant and cautious when divulging personal data.”

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