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Phishing Against Mobile Devices
Mobile phishing is an emerging threat in today’s connected world.
A report finds that the number of mobile phishing attacks has been increasing over the last few years for various mobile device platforms.
Most instances of SMS phishing (smishing) target banks or financial institutions by sending a phone number that the victim calls after receiving the message, resulting in a vishing attack.
Mobile devices have opened a profitable new window of opportunity for criminals executing phishing attacks,” the researchers wrote. “Attackers are successfully circumventing existing phishing protection to target the mobile device. These attacks are highlighting security shortcomings and exposing sensitive data and personal information at an alarming rate.”
Compared with traditional desktop software users, mobile application users are more vulnerable to phishing attacks.
Phishing, which has long been the top attack vector against all manner of targets, is as pervasive and effective as ever. Hackers are increasingly targeting ubiquitous mobile devices and victims are readily falling for it. The rate at which victims are falling for phishing attacks on mobile has increased and average of 85 percent every year since 2011, according to new research from the mobile security company Lookout.
The threat is not limited to email. SMS phishing attacks are both common and effective with over 25 percent of targets clicking malicious links from spoofed phone numbers that falsely appear to be from the victim’s area code, according to the new Lookout research. Facebook Messenger is another phishing attack vector researchers have seen used recently against mobile devices.
The most famous phishing attack against a mobile user might be Pegasus, the surveillance software built by Israel’s NSO Group (now known as Q Cyber Technologies). The company sold Pegasus to the United Arab Emirates, which used it to spy on Ahmed Mansoor, a pro-democracy dissident in the country. The attack included zero-day exploits and is estimated to have cost upwards of $1 million.
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