Kaspersky analysis has revealed that attacks related to data loss threats (phishing and scams/social engineering) increased significantly in Africa in Q2 2022 in comparison with the previous quarter – where the company’s security solutions detected 10 722 886 phishing attacks in Africa in Q2.
Social engineering, sometimes called “human hacking” scams, are used in many ways, and for different purposes, to lure unwary users to the site and trick them into entering personal information. The latter often includes financial credentials such as bank account passwords or payment card details, or login details for social media accounts. In the wrong hands, this opens doors to various malicious operations, such as money being stolen, or corporate networks being compromised.
Phishing is a strong attack method because it is done at a large scale. By sending massive waves of emails under the name of legitimate institutions or promoting fake pages, malicious users increase their chances of success in their hunt for innocent people’s credentials. Phishers deploy a variety of tricks to bypass e-mail blocking and lure as many users as possible to their fraudulent sites. A common technique is HTML attachments with partially or fully obfuscated code. HTML files allow attackers to use scripts, obfuscate malicious content to make it harder to detect, and send phishing pages as attachments instead of links.
According to Kaspersky data, attacks related to data loss threats have grown by 234% in Africa in the second quarter of 2022. Kenyan users have been influenced the most by this type of threat: there were 5 098 534 phishing attacks detected in three months – a growth of 438% when compared to the previous quarter. It was followed by South Africa (4 578 216 detections and a growth of 144%) and Nigeria (1 046 136 detections and a growth of 174%).
In particular, while vacation season is high, scammers are trying to lure travelers who are looking for interesting places to go, cheap places to stay and reasonably priced flights. Kaspersky researchers have observed intensified scamming activities, with numerous phishing pages distributed under the guise of airline and booking services. The number of attempts to open phishing pages related to booking and airline services in the first half of 2022 was 4 311 in the META region.
“Planning a vacation is not easy,” comments Mikhail Sytnik, security expert at Kaspersky. “People can spend weeks, even months, looking for the perfect place to stay and the tickets to get them there. Fraudsters use this to lure users that have grown tired of searching for great deals.
“After two years of flight restrictions imposed by the pandemic, travelling is back. But so are travel scams – with intensified scamming activity targeting users through fake booking and rental services.
“Such attacks are totally preventable, which is why we urge users to be skeptical about overly generous offers. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.”