We are in unprecedented times as COVID-19 spreads across the globe. Students of all ages are forced to attend classes online from home. Office workers are now forced to work from home. Because people are now forced to stay home in this era of “Social Distancing,” there has been an uptick in finances as less money is being spent by families. People are also streaming their entertainment services more as well. These are prime situations for cybercriminals, in particular, brand phishers. Brand phishing attacks are when a cybercriminal tries to imitate the official website of a well-known brand using a similar domain name or URL as well as using a site design that looks almost identical to the brand site they’re imitating. Cybercriminals use this technique to steal sensitive information from the people that they are targeting. This information could be credit card information, bank account information, personal details, etc. They will try and get this information through imitation by email, mobile, or fraud websites. Anyone and any business is susceptible to brand phishing, so everyone should be aware of brand phishing; but some people and business are more at risk than others. The top three types of websites that are susceptible to phishers are technology sites, banking sites, and other media sites. Sites that require you to enter personal information, credit card information, etc. are going to be the ones that are targeted by cyber criminals. Although these are the top three websites being targeted by the cyber criminals, nobody is immune from brand phishing. In Quarter 1 of 2020, Apple was the number one faked brand for phishing while Netflix was a close second. Both of those companies require credit card information to be put on the accounts of the users, which makes them prime candidates to be imitated by phishers. Other top companies that were faked in Q1 of 2020 were Yahoo, Paypal, Chase, and Amazon. Just like Apple and Netflix, each one of these websites has personal information, including credit card info. Of course not all emails and notifications from these brands are going to be from phishers; just look out for the emails or notifications that look suspicious. Again, it comes down to being aware of brand phishing as no brand or company will be immune to this. During this unusual time, cyber criminals are licking their lips with the possibility of acquiring so much information from so many people due to the stay at home orders. There’s no way to prevent it from happening, but being cautious and being aware of brand phishing is the best defense against it. Be vigilant and be cautious when you are disclosing any type of personal information online.

Don’t become phish bait!

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