Majority of Mideast internet users at sea when it comes to phishing

Published November 5th, 2012 - 12:19 GMT
A high percentage of users fell victims to mobile devices’ phishing
A high percentage of users fell victims to mobile devices’ phishing

Sixty two per cent of PC users in the Middle East claimed they are unable to recognise a phishing message or a fake website, according to a survey conducted by O+K Research at the request of Kaspersky Lab.

The standard data theft method is social engineering - a potential victim is lured onto an infected web page or is duped into opening a file attached to an e-mail. It is not always easy to recognise such a message, the survey revealed.

The survey revealed that 80 per cent of PC users check their e-mails regularly, 81 per cent communicate on social networks, and 54 per cent of users chat on the Internet regularly with their smartphones. ‘Cybercriminals who use phishing as a tool to steal data are primarily interested in gaining unauthorised access to social network accounts, accounts in online banking and payment systems, and e-shops.’

In June, 68 per cent of phishing messages related to such services were targeted at data theft, according to Kaspersky Lab. The results give indirect evidence that the mass messaging method bears fruit: about half of the O+K Research respondents noticed that they have already encountered suspicious correspondence in social networks or e-mails. ‘Forty three per cent of PC users in the region got a message with a suspicious link or an attachment, and 27 per cent of respondents got letters in the name of a bank (social network or another service) with a request for confidential information.’

Moreover, 35 per cent of PC users in GCC admitted that their computers had been infected as a result of opening an attachment to a letter, and 14 per cent of respondents had entered personal or financial data on suspicious pages.

A high percentage of users fell victims to mobile devices’ phishing, 25 per cent of tablet users and 20 per cent of smartphone owners received correspondence with suspicious links and attachments in GCC while 13 per cent and 13 per cent respectively had letters on behalf of a bank or social network.

In another announcement, Kaspersky Lab said in its spam report for GCC in the third quarter of 2012 that Saudi Arabia is a leading source of spam, while UAE was ranked number two. However, all GCC countries combined account for only 1.29 per cent of all global spam.


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