Security giant Symantec has revealed that February saw a significant rise in phishing attempts, while spammers are again latching on to current news events to spread malware.
Spam and phishing messages accounted for 19% of all spam during February. Phishing emails rose 16% compared to January figures, mainly due to an increase in the volume of unique URL and IP attacks, Symantec said.
The month also saw a 12% increase in French and Italian language phishing sites, caused by a large number of attacks aimed at three Italian banks, one French bank and a Canadian financial institution.
Spammers used the earthquake in Chile to spread malware, just as they had done with the Haitian earthquake a month earlier. Symantec also noted that there had been a rise in the number of spam emails using recalls by car manufacturers such as Toyota and Honda as bait.
“Due to a very large number of vehicles involved in this round of recalls, there has been widespread interest in developments regarding this event. In these examples, spammers trick the user to give up personal information by pretending to be a legal industry representative,” the report said.