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According to new research, the tried-and-true technique of luring customers to a deceiving website is being increasingly used by cybercriminals with nearly 42 percent of phishing messages targeting payment service users, such as PayPal, major bank customers and online store shoppers.

Researchers found scamming emails grew by nearly 8 percentage points with a particular increase during the month of July. The middle of summer yields countless opportunities for cybercriminals, sending malicious advertisements for sun protection and other summer goods, including air conditioners, cooling fans, bottled water and sunglasses from reputable brands.

Additionally, cybercriminals targeted corporate users, despite slower business activity throughout the summer. Spam analyst Tatyana Shcherbakova said spammers switch to more lucrative partner spam during slow business months, including some malicious mailings.

“As a result, spam becomes more criminalized and poses a greater risk to users. Therefore, in July we noticed that spammers were taking a greater interest in financial services,” said Shcherbakova. “In addition, the top position in our ranking of malicious spam attachments was, for the first time in a long while, taken by a Trojan downloader used to steal users’ sensitive data.”

The following malicious programs were the most common email attachments in July:

Source: Securelist

Additional findings from the research, included:

  • 15.3 percent of all global spam was sent from the United States
  • 5.6 percent of all global spam originated from Russia
  • 5.3 percent of all global spam came from China

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