According to a new report by Kaspersky Lab, approximately one-third of all phishing attacks are aimed at stealing money.

The study found that 31.45% of phishing attacks in 2013 used the names of leading banks, online stores and online payment systems in order to fool victims into parting with their money - an increase of 8.5 percentage points from 2012.

Financial cyber threats in 2013 used data from the Kaspersky Security Network. It found that around 60% of attacks mimicking bank pages used one of 25 organization names and, of those attacks, 88.3% used PayPal, American Express, MasterCard or Visa.

Reputational damage

The most used brand name for attempting to fool consumers was Amazon, which was used in a total of 61% of incidents. Amazon has been the most popular brand used for executing phishing attacks for a number of years now. Apple and eBay were the other two organizations comprising the top three.

Social media websites are also increasingly being employed by phishers. Brands such as Facebook were used in 35.4% of attacks during 2013, an increase of 6.8 percentage points.

"Phishing attacks are so popular because they are simple to deploy and extremely effective," said Sergey Lozhkin, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab. "It is often not easy for even advanced Internet users to distinguish a well-designed fraudulent site from a legitimate page, which makes it even more important to install a specialized protection solution. In addition, phishing causes reputational and financial damage to organizations that see their brands exploited in phishing attacks."