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DHL Most Imitated Brand in Phishing Attacks in Q4 2021, WhatsApp, Google, and Apple in Top 10: Check Point Research



DHL was the most imitated brand by cybercriminals for phishing attempts in the fourth quarter of 2021 (Q4 2021) globally, a new report shows. The global logistics company has replaced Microsoft as the brand that is most likely to be imitated by cybercriminals in phishing scams. WhatsApp, Google, LinkedIn, Amazon, and Apple are also among the top 10 brands, which makes social media among the top three sectors imitated in phishing attempts by cyber scammers, as per the report.

As per the Brand Phishing Report for Q4 2021 by Check Point Research (CPR), the Threat Intelligence arm of Check Point Software Technologies, DHL leapfrogged Microsoft to take the top spot as the brand most likely to be imitated (23 percent) by cybercriminals in an attempt to steal individuals’ personal information or payment credentials during October, November, and December. The percentage is up from 9 percent in the third quarter last year. This is followed by Microsoft (20 percent) that was the top imitated brand in the third quarter of 2021.

DHL was the top choice of cybercriminals “presumably to capitalise on the soaring number of new and potentially vulnerable online shoppers during the year’s busiest retail period. Older users in particular, who are less likely to be as technologically savvy as younger generations, will be shopping online for the first time and might not know what to look for when it comes to things like delivery confirmation emails or tracking updates,” said Omer Dembinsky, Data Research Group Manager at Check Point Software.

Facebook (now Meta) dropped out of the list of the top 10 brands most likely to be imitated, while WhatsApp gained three spots to move to third and now accounts for 11 percent of all phishing attempts. LinkedIn moved from the eighth spot to the fifth accounting for 8 percent of all phishing-related attacks. This suggests that social media is gaining among the top three sectors imitated in phishing attempts.

“Q4 has also confirmed what many of us were expecting. That social media would continue to be heavily targeted by bad actors looking to take advantage of those leaning more heavily on channels like WhatsApp, Facebook, and LinkedIn as a result of remote working and other fallouts from the pandemic,” Omer added.

The report also says that Google (10 percent), Amazon (4 percent), FedEx (3 percent), Roblox (3 percent), Paypal (2 percent), and Apple (2 percent) were in the list of top 10 brands that were imitated by cybercriminals the most to target people in Q4 2021 using a brand phishing attacks. In this type of attack, criminals try to imitate the official website of a well-known brand and use a similar domain name or URL and web-page design to fool people. These malicious websites have links/ forms that are used to steal users’ credentials, payment details, and other personal information.

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