iPhone attracts cyber criminals. The number of phishing attacks is increasing

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Anna Rymsza

The number of cyber attacks against owners of Apple equipment is increasing. Criminals are increasingly using the Apple brand and its products in their campaigns. The target is people using Macs, iPhones and iPads.

The number of attacks has increased significantly this year and this trend continues. During the first 6 months of 2019, and researchers have already registered by 9 percent. more attacks than in the whole of 2018. This reflects the growing popularity of apple equipment – phishing campaigns are more profitable if there are more potential victims.

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Apple operating systems have a reputation of being safe, and only a few common threats have been created in history. However, when it comes to cyber threats that are platform independent, they don't stand out from the competition. There is no shortage of social engineering attacks on Apple owners.

During the six months of this year, analysts recorded 1.6 million attacks using malicious websites and Apple trademarks. The most common sites are pretending to be an iCloud interface or stealing Apple ID login information. Links to them are usually contained in emails pretending to be information from Apple support. Threats to lock your account are surprisingly effective.

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Another commonly used procedure is an old window saying that your Mac or iPhone has been infected by a virus. Such notifications promise that after the payment or installation of the indicated (obviously malicious) application, the threat will be removed.

False sense of security

The described attacks are nothing new, but the increase in their activity is worrying. Specialists suspect that users of Apple devices and services have a false sense of security. Because of this, they get less careful than Android and Windows users. The Apple ecosystem is very well protected, but this does not mean that you can give up all vigilance.

The theft of credentials to the iCloud account can have serious consequences, such as remote locking of an iPhone or the deletion of user data by a criminal. Therefore, we encourage Apple device users to pay more attention to any e-mails they allegedly receive from technical support and in which they are asked to provide certain data or to click a link
– said Tatjana Sidorina, a cyber security researcher from Kaspersky.

In addition to the increase in the number of phishing attacks, the report also points to other types of threats to macOS users. The most common threats to Mac users are not malware, such as banking Trojans, but threats from the AdWare category, which are not necessarily malicious – they usually only display unwanted ads, although some may be a cover for more serious threats.

The specialists also report that the total number of phishing attacks (not only those using the Apple brand image) detected in the first half of 2019 on Mac computers was almost 6 million. 7.3 million such attacks took place throughout 2018. 39.95 percent the above attacks were designed to steal users' financial data. It's 10 percent more than in the first half of 2018.

In some regions, the number of macOS users targeted by phishing attacks was higher than in others: Brazil (30.9% of targeted users) comes first, followed by India (22.1%) and France (22% ). MacOS users were most actively attacked by threats from the Shlayer family that were impersonating Adobe Flash Player updates.

The entire report can be found on the Kaspersky Lab website.

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