Vade Secure Puts Mobile Payments Leader PayPal at Top of the Phisher Target Registry, Again

February 22, 2020         By: Steven Anderson

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard from Vade Secure, and it probably won’t be the last. They recently dropped word our way about the fourth quarter of 2019, and who came out on top as the leading phishing targets around. Just like in the third quarter, PayPal—one of the biggest names around in mobile payments—came out on top, though in this case, the honor is a mite dubious.

While PayPal leads the way in favored phishing targets, there are some signs that the prospects are improving for the end user. PayPal was still top, but PayPal phishing was actually down compared to the third quarter by almost a third, 31 percent. However, the overall phish was up against the fourth quarter of 2018, by a healthy 23 percent margin. Much of this is owed to the fact that PayPal phishing often has a direct cash benefit, so when it works, it works immediately.

Facebook came in second, while Microsoft was the largest corporate target at number three. The rest of the top 10 featured brands like Netflix, WhatsApp, Bank of America, Apple, and Amazon, making it clear that targets were broad and varied but most involved money directly or indirectly in some way.

An increase was noted in the pursuit of small banks, who may not have the sophisticated defensive systems that larger institutions routinely carry. Hitting 10 banks for $10 each has the same overall effect as hitting one bank for $100, in the end, so pursuing smaller, less protected targets may have a better outcome for phishing operations.

This, of course, is just the outcome for phishing attacks. Thankfully, phishing attacks are one of the simplest to fend off since they depend on the responses of the individual end user. Countering phishing attacks can be accomplished using several time-tested and proven-effective strategies, including doing such things as adding an anti-phishing toolbar to your browser of choice and even just checking a link in advance of going there—hovering your mouse pointer over the link without clicking will often reveal its destination—among other such useful techniques.

Phishing will likely always be a problem as long as money can be made therein, but with a little advance knowledge, you’ll have a much better position to evade such attempts yourself.