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Netflix related phishing URLs jumped from 525% to 853% in May

August 2020 by Kelvin Murray, Senior Threat Researcher at Webroot

After the news this morning from Ofcom that TV watching and online streaming has surged during lockdown, Webroot has released new statistics revealing a huge spike in phishing URLs that include the words Netflix, HBO, YouTube and Twitch.

Webroot’s Real-Time Anti-Phishing protection system found the following percentage increases in phishing URLs targeting streaming services globally throughout the lockdown in March:
• Netflix – 525% increase vs Feb
• YouTube – 3,064% increase vs Feb
• Twitch – 337% increase vs Feb
• HBO – 525% increase vs Feb

As the lockdown progressed, Webroot also found that Netflix related phishing URLs jumped from 525% to 853% in May.

Kelvin Murray, Senior Threat Researcher at Webroot:

“Household names are often impersonated with phishing scams because it’s a fairly simple and easy way for attackers to target a large volume of individuals. These threats are unfortunately only becoming more sophisticated and using popular public streaming services allows cybercriminals to appear more believable, and it only takes one click to put users at risk.

Better security systems and training are key for protection, but the most important thing that businesses can do is back up data and ensure that backup can be restored, in case a phishing attack on an employee leads to a ransomware infection on the company network. To defend against these kinds of attacks, individuals should undertake security awareness training and remain vigilant in scrutinising the types of emails they receive. This should also be underpinned by cybersecurity technology such as email filtering, anti-virus protection, and strong password policies.”




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