Social Media Phishing Threats Rose By 500% In 2016

A massive rise has been recorded in social media phishing attempts by cybercriminals, with a worry report claiming that these types of threats have climbed 500%.

And that too, throughout 2016.

This was revealed in the Quarterly Thread Summary (PDF file) that Proofpoint has made public. The research data includes cases of angler phishing, which is defined as instances where attackers intercept customer support channels on social media in their attempt to steal the credentials of people.

Up until now this has been most common among financial services, but now entertainment has also been thrown into the mix by hackers:

“To that end, Proofpoint researchers observed a 20% increase in spam content across Facebook and Twitter quarter over quarter.”

In fact, these threats doubled from the third to fourth quarter, and the last trimester particularly saw hackers being attracted to hot topics that were in the media.

For example, there were a high number of Super Mario Run pages that appeared on social sites in Q4, before and after the launch of the mobile game. Pokémon GO was also quite an attraction prior to that, and many of these pages featured download links to either malware or fake surveys.

The Summer Olympics was also a risky affair, with about 4,500 mobile apps being associated with it.

Understandably, the risks associated with these accounts are quite high, as these are not just used for phishing, social spam, but also malware distribution and a range of other cybercriminal activities.

And that’s even without talking about ransomware, that saw an increase in variants by over 30 times during the last quarter of 2016 compared to the previous year.

Scary times!

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