DomainTools, a leader in domain name and DNS-based cyber threat intelligence, recently announced the results of a survey of 1,000 UK consumers, which revealed that 20% of British consumers have been caught out by phishing emails pretending to be from a trusted, legitimate brand, but which in reality are used for malicious purposes such as the theft of PII or the installation of malware on a network.
Concerningly, a further 16% of respondents to the survey were unsure whether they had clicked on a scam email – implying they could have been duped by the scams without ever realising.
20% of those who fell victim to scams said that their computers were infected with a virus, 15% had their personal information stolen, and 6% were tricked into purchasing a fake product.
This comes as we enter December, the busiest shopping month of the year for UK consumers. According to the Bank of England, the average UK family spends £500 more than their monthly average in December on food, alcohol and presents for loved ones.
“While all the outcomes for the victims outlined in the survey are undoubtedly negative, the one that most concerns cybersecurity professionals relate to those who had PII stolen”, said Corin Imai, senior security advisor at DomainTools. “Stolen PII is used to bolster the pipeline of cybercrime which leads more and more people to become victims.”
“If data is stolen in a phishing attack, it can be used to target individuals with more nuanced spear-phishing attacks aimed at financial data, which could in turn lead to serious crimes such credit-card fraud or identity theft. Consumers need to be acutely aware of these scams, cross-referencing URLs on emails with the legitimate websites of retailers before clicking on any links.”
The survey was conducted with a group of 1,000 UK consumers, between November 12-13, 2018.