Hackers have been using trending topics, such as FIFA 2018 and bitcoin, to trick users into offering up their personal information.
That’s according to Kaspersky Lab’s “Spam and Phishing in 2017” report, which found the bad guys have been using trending topics to trick people for a year now. According to their data, hackers have been staying on top of global issues and major events around the world to capitalize the most from their scams.
Take FIFA 2018 as an example. According to Kaspersky, while the world was getting ready for the tournament, spammers were spreading related scam emails. The research firm said scammers were sending fake messages that used official logos, including those of organizers and sponsors. They would trick users by saying they won a lottery or by promising free tickets.
In regards to bitcoin, when the price was rising last year, there was significant uptick in the number of blockchain-themed scams.
“In 2017, we saw a slight decrease in spam activities, but throughout the year, spammers haven’t missed any reason to steal users’ personal information, keeping their eyes on what’s happening in the world. As sports events, such as the upcoming FIFA World Cup and others, take place, their activity will only increase,” Darya Gudkova, a spam analyst expert at Kaspersky Lab, said in a press release highlighting the results of the report. “Moreover, in 2018 we expect further development and growth of cryptocurrency-related spam and phishing — with more cryptocurrency diversity besides bitcoin, which was widely used in the previous year, and with ‘pump and dump’ schemes.”
According to Kaspersky, the amount of spam fell to 56.63 percent in 2017, which is 1.68 percent less than in 2016. Meanwhile, the number of phishing attacks increased. The Kaspersky Lab Anti-Phishing system was triggered 246,231,645 times on Kaspersky Lab users’ computers, which was 59 percent higher than in 2016.