The number of brand impersonation emails sent out per month rose 44 percent year-on-year in 2020, according to UK-based email management service Mimecast.
Google, Amazon, PayPal, Microsoft and Facebook, some of the biggest brands in the world were the five companies most impersonated by cybercriminals among Mimecast’s users, with the number of scams rising during the pandemic.
Other brands making up the top 10 most impersonated include Apple, LinkedIn, Bank of America, American Express and Fedex.
For companies ranked among the top 100 in the world, there was a 381 percent rise in this criminal activity during May and June 2020, compared to January and February before the impact of the coronavirus disease pandemic began to take hold.
The number of new domain names set up to pretend to be popular brands also rose 366 percent during May and June, and the number of fraudulent links email users clicked on soared 84.5 percent.
As part of a global study, Mimecast found that 95 percent of companies in the UAE said this issue was a concern for them, and 36 percent of respondents said they had seen an increase in this activity.
In addition, 90 percent of respondents said they were aware of at least one website or email attack carried out using their company’s brand or domain name. Twenty-three percent of respondents said they had seen as many as 10 attacks.
“The impact of brand exploitation can cause untold damage to brands at a time when many businesses are already suffering due to the pandemic, and result in a loss of trust and damaged reputation,” said Duane Nicol, cybersecurity expert at Mimecast.
Cybercriminals often use fake job alerts as scams, and earlier this year Arab News reported on a video showing a young man who had applied for a job on LinkedIn to work for the NEOM Co. through a recruitment agency. The man was scammed out of SR15,000 ($4,000)
The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) launched an investigation into the scam and warned Saudi residents against giving out their personal details to third parties they are not familiar with.
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