Businesses warned to beware winter phishing risk

Businesses across Europe have been warned to stay alert to a rise in phishing attacks.

A report from security firm F5 Labs has highlighted that such scams are set to skyrocket over the next few weeks, as winter heralds the start of peak season for cybercriminals.

The company claims that fraud incidents from October to January rise over 50 percent compared to the annual average, meaning firms need to be on their toes to make sure they don't fall prey to new threats.

Phishing attacks

F5 says that phishing attacks are becoming more damaging than ever before, highlighting that three quarters (75.6 percent) of all websites taken offline by its F5 SOC between January 2014 and the end of 2017 were related to phishing attacks.

The company also revealed that the vast majority (70 percent) of phishing scams looked to impersonate just a handful of major companies, with the likes of Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, Adobe, Dropbox, and DocuSign among the most mimicked.

“We’re in the middle of a cyber-crimewave where phishers and fraudsters take advantage of people at their most distracted,” said David Warburton, senior EMEA threat research evangelist, F5 Networks.

“It is prime season for individuals giving up credentials or inadvertently installing malware. Businesses are wrapping up end-of-year activities, key staff are on vacation, and record numbers of online holiday shoppers are searching for the best deals, looking for last-minute credit or feeling generous when charities come calling.”

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.