Asia Pacific public sector targeted by phishing attacks

Singapore's spam rate increased to 66.6 percent in July 2012 from 65.8 percent in June 2012, according to July 2012 Symantec Intelligence Report.

The public sector remained the most targeted by phishing activity in July, with one in 113.3 e-mails comprising a phishing attack.

Sixty-seven percent of e-mail was blocked as spam in Hong Kong, 66.6 percent in Singapore and 64.1 percent in Japan.

Phishing activity accounted for one in 752 e-mails in Australia and one in 2,241 in Hong Kong. This activity was one in 3,451 for Singapore and one in 7,449 for Japan.

One in 902 mails in Singapore was identified as malicious with one in 2,084 in Japan.

Range of tricks

The findings of the Symantec report show that attackers use a range of tricks to lure users to the Web attack toolkits. A spam e-mail will take you to a legitimate website that has been compromised and carries a Web attack toolkit.

These attackers also used Olympic themed hashtags on Twitter to spread malicious threats to take advantage of the excitement of fans all across the world.

These tweets were generated by bots, with poorly constructed, ambiguous sentences and were quickly identified and closed by Twitter.

Spammers trick users to download malware and Symantec noticed that the Olympic scam spam rate increased steadily over the last few months.

Unsuspecting users received fake promo e-mails from MasterCard that promised trips to the London 2012 games trying to gather personal information of people.

Spammers also targeted customers by using fake gift cards from Visa.

Symantec advises Internet users not to click on suspicious links in e-mail messages; not to enter personal information in a pop-up page or screen; and frequently update security software to stay protected from online phishing.