Report: Phishing scams increasingly using mobile apps to bait victims

Phishers typically use spam email to try and lure victims, but Kaspersky says the new trend is exploiting users' love of gadgets.

When it comes down to it, spam and phishing scams rely primarily on exploiting trust. If the attacker can find a way to make the message appear to be from a known source, the odds that a user will take the bait are much higher. This has led to malware infections that access your contacts and send out infected emails on your behalf to everyone you know, and those same basic techniques have been adapted for instant messaging, social networks, and even SMS text messaging. According to a new report from Kaspersky Lab, Mobile apps are the new frontier.

"Gadgets have become popular even among those who had little interaction with computers and are less familiar with computer security," Darya Gudkova, head of the content analysis and research department for Kasperky Lab, said in an email.  "This opens up new vectors of attacks for spammers and phishers.

"To protect themselves, users should remember not to open emails from unknown senders, and especially not to click any links in these emails, which inevitably pose a risk to user security," Gudkova explained. "Clicking unsafe links threatens user security regardless of which device is used--they pose a danger to desktop computers and mobile gadgets alike."

In other words, the same rules apply. Just because the message is within WhatsApp or appears to come from some other mobile app you use doesn't mean it is legitimate. You have to exercise the same caution and common sense to recognize whether a message seems legitimate or not and have the self-discipline not to open unknown attachments or click on suspicious links no matter who or what they seem to have come from.

The Kaspersky 2014 Q1 Spam Report also notes that more than 70 percent of the spam messages weigh in at less than 2Kb in size, and more than 90 percent are 5Kb or less. I guess if you're sending out millions of spam messages, you want them to go fast, and you don't want to exceed the bandwidth allocation for your ISP. More importantly--since most spam is distributed from compromised PCs--you don't want to raise red flags with the victim's ISP.

Check out the full report from Kaspersky Lab, and think twice before opening attachments or clicking links even if they seem to come from inside mobile apps you consider "safe."

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags spamWhatsAppsecuritymobile securitymobilephishingkaspersky labmobile application security

More about KasperskyKaspersky

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Tony Bradley

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts