Phishing scams targeting Mac users on the rise with 1.6 million attacks in 2019

Kaspersky caught 1.6 million phishing attacks disguised as the Apple brand in the … Kaspersky said the total number of phishing attacks have grown … the amount of malicious and unwanted software is growing,” stated the release.

How sophisticated phishing grants attackers total control of your computerPhishing is all about the bad guy and fooling the victim, says Kevin Mitnick, founder, Mitnick Security Consulting. Mitnick knows about bad guys-he used to be one.

Apple users like to think their devices are a bit safer than other brands, but a new report from Kaspersky shows that cybercriminals are increasingly trying to attack Mac customers.

Kaspersky’s mid-year “Threats to MacOS Users” report highlights just how many attacks the company stops for its customers.


Cyberweapons are now in play: From US sabotage of a North Korean missile test to hacked emergency sirens in Dallas

Cyberwarfare has already begun. Unlike nuclear weapons, cyberweapons can be proliferated more quickly and the threat from accidentally setting them off is even greater.

In only the first six months of 2019, the number of phishing attacks disguised using the Apple brand grew to 1.6 million. Kaspersky said the total number of phishing attacks have grown exponentially since 2015, when there were only 852,293 attacks. Just in the first half of this year, 5,932,195 attacks were committed, the report stated.

SEE: Windows 10 security: A guide for business leaders (TechRepublic Premium)

“The owners of MacBooks and iMacs are only rivaled by Linux users in terms of the level of confidence in their own security, and we must admit that they are right to a certain degree: Compared to Windows-based systems, there are far fewer threats that target macOS,” said Kaspersky researchers Mikhail Kuzin, Tatyana Shcherbakova, Tatyana Sidorina and Vitaly Kamluk, in a press release.

However, the press release continued, that situation is changing, since the popularity of the latter platform is growing. “Due to this and despite all the efforts that have been taken by the company, the threat landscape for Apple devices is changing, and the amount of malicious and unwanted software is growing,” stated the release.

Of the 6 million phishing attacks Kaspersky dealt with, nearly 12% targeted corporate users. Hackers also concentrated on Mac users outside of the United States, according to Kaspersky’s survey.

“While technically these fraud schemes are nothing new, we believe they pose an even greater danger to Apple users than similar schemes against users of other platforms – such as Windows or Android,” said Tatyana Sidorina, security researcher at Kaspersky. “That is because the ecosystem around Macs and other Apple devices is generally considered a far safer environment. Therefore users might be less cautious when they encounter fake websites. Meanwhile the successful theft of iCloud account credentials could lead to serious consequences. We urge users of Apple devices to pay more attention to any emails they receive claiming to be from technical support, which request your details or ask you to visit a link.”

To compile the report, Kaspersky used statistics from their Kaspersky Security Network cloud infrastructure, which stores information about all of the malicious programs or threats that affect Mac users.

Brazil had the largest share of unique macOS users who experienced phishing attacks at 30%, while both France and India had about 22%. Kaspersky highlighted that hackers were increasingly using Apple iconography to trick people into handing over Apple IDs and credentials.

“These phishing attacks aim to steal users’ Apple IDs. Links to these sites are usually sent in emails that allegedly come from Apple Support. The recipient is threatened that their account will be locked unless they click the link and log in to confirm the information that has been specified in their profile,” the Kaspersky report stated.

The report continued, “Another phishing trick is to send thank you messages for purchasing an Apple device or app on the App Store. The ‘client’ is invited to learn more about the product (or cancel the purchase) by clicking a link that leads to a phishing page. Here, the victim is required to enter their Apple ID login and password, which, of course, will be sent to the attackers.”

Last year there were 1.5 million attacks using Apple’s branding, which pales in comparison to this year. By June 2019, Kaspersky stopped 1.6 million similar attacks, and the security company said these kinds of attacks grows by 30–40% every year.

“The vast majority of threats for macOS in 2019 were in the AdWare category. As for the malware threats, the Shlayer family, which masquerades as Adobe Flash Player or an update for it has been the most prevalent,” the Kaspersky study stated.

SEE: Special report: Cybersecurity in an IoT and mobile world (free PDF) (TechRepublic Premium)

Kaspersky stressed that Apple users needed to shed the idea that the company’s devices were infallible because multiple hacking groups were hard at work on a variety of methods to steal information.

According to Kaspersky, there were at least eight full-fledged campaigns aimed squarely at attacking the users of MacBook, iPhone, and other devices over the past few years.

Mac users have traditionally seen themselves as safe because for many years, they truly were. There are more Windows and Android devices worldwide, making it more cost effective for hackers to focus on those operating systems over Apple, which still largely has a niche, US-centered audience.

Business users should be particularly wary considering the steep rise in attacks centered around Apple products used by financial institutions and other companies.

“Several well-known cybercriminal groups are currently working to develop malware for these operating systems, but the likelihood that a random user will be the target of such programs is extremely small,” Kaspersky said in the report. “However, if you work in a financial institution, such as, for example, a bank, and your MacBook or iPhone is a corporate device, then the chances that you will be targeted increase considerably. In this case the threat is significant enough, so we do not recommend relying on the fact that Apple devices are in general less popular targets, and we recommend seeking out a reliable security solution. More so as we expect the number of targeted attacks on macOS and iOS devices to increase between 2019 and 2020.”

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New reports unveils more details about Endpoint Security and Protection Software Market by 2025 …

The global Endpoint Security and Protection Software market is expected to expand at a CAGR of +7% over the forecast period 2019-2025. … Trend Micro, Kaspersky Lab, VIPRE, Webroot, Cisco, Ahnlab, and Panda Security.

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Endpoint Security Software Market Overview with Qualitative analysis, Competitive landscape …

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Kaspersky reveals diagnosis of cyberthreats plaguing the healthcare sector

Kaspersky tags escalating number of cyberthreats as the modern plague haunting the healthcare sector, at the recent 5th CyberSecurity Weekend in …

Kaspersky’s fifth cybersecurity weekend puts spotlight on still unseen attacks against medical and pharmaceutical organisations in APAC.

Content supplied by Kaspersky.

Kaspersky tags escalating number of cyberthreats as the modern plague haunting the healthcare sector, at the recent 5th CyberSecurity Weekend in Yangon, Myanmar.

With the theme “Cybersecurity: Healing the Healthcare Sector”, the conference is set to examine the past, the present, and the future state of the medical industry’s threat landscape. The annual event will be attended by the Kaspersky’s elite researchers, key executives, as well as journalists from 12 Asia Pacific (APAC) countries.

“Data is sick. Confidential medical records being breached, advanced devices turning a human into a bionic man, these ideas have since crossed the bridge between fictional stories and our physical world. They are well within our reality, in Asia Pacific and globally. As rapid digitalisation penetrates the healthcare sector, cybercriminals are seeing more opportunities to attack this lucrative and critical industry, which is honestly not equipped enough to face this virtual danger,” says Stephan Neumeier, Managing Director for Asia Pacific at Kaspersky.

Attacks against hospitals and pharmaceuticals have been happening worldwide, especially in the more advanced countries in the west. The recent years, however, have seen the threat creeping towards APAC. Reports have even projected that the medical industry in the region can incur economic losses of up to USD 23.3 million from cybersecurity incidents.

The Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) revealed last year that out of the 262 data breaches reported under the Australian Notifiable Data Breach (NDB) scheme, 54 came from the private health sector followed by finance (40); legal, accounting and management services (23); private education providers (21) and mining and manufacturing (12).

Singapore, the highly-connected and considered as the technology and business hub of Asia, has suffered four data breaches concerning healthcare organisations in just 12 months. One incident even involved health records of the country’s prime minister. The infamous Wannacry ransomware has also crippled several medical establishments in the region, particularly in China, Hong Kong, and Vietnam.

Senior Security Researcher from GReAT Korea, Seongsu Park gave further insight to healthcare related data from the Darkweb. An example given in his presentation is an Australian based darkweb seller called Ausprdie. This platform is known to sell digital product in exchange for individuals medical data which includes phone numbers.

Ausprdie medical heist from the dark web.

He also noted that medical records can be considered more valuable than a simple credit card. This is because a hospital generally requires a patient’s personal and financial credentials before a check-up or an admission.

“Based on the indications and patterns we have seen and are still seeing on the dark web, the main purpose of the individuals behind these hacking groups is to sell the medical information to another crime group or to any individual who aims to access confidential medical data. It is quite alarming that we are increasingly coming across such active advertisements, which can either mean this illegal practice has turned into a normal type of business or the demand for such attacks are becoming increasingly high,” adds Park.

Leading the team of researchers is Vitaly Kamluk, Head of GReAT APAC at Kaspersky, who zero-in on the readiness of the industry in tackling cyberthreats and its cybersecurity.

“Nuclear fallouts like the one happened after Chernobyl disaster and cyberthreats have something in common. A naked eye cannot see how the radiation from the decades-long incident have been affecting human health until present times. Likewise, the healthcare sector has yet to clearly diagnose the plague that has been causing damage to the industry and potentially affecting human health,” explains Kamluk. “Helen Keller once said that the only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision. While being deaf-blind person, she worked very hard and reached unbelievable heights. In cyberspace most of us are deaf-blind, because of invisible nature of the threats. But the question is are we working hard enough to be able to envision how those threats can affect our health and our lives?.”

About Kaspersky

Kaspersky is a global cybersecurity company founded in 1997. Kaspersky’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is constantly transforming into innovative security solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers around the globe. The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of specialized security solutions and services to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky technologies and we help 270,000 corporate clients protect what matters most to them. Learn more at

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