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Be careful what links you click on, phishers attack the most popular messenger apps

It’s a good idea to choose what kind of messenger a user installs on their device, because phishers also looked at the most popular ones.

Kaspersky Internet Security for Android users voluntarily provided (anonymous) data to see which messaging apps were most popular among phishers. According to the company, most of the malicious links detected between December 2020 and May 2021 were sent via WhatsApp (84.9%), with Telegram taking second place (5.7%). Viber was pushed into third place (with a share of 4.9%), while Hangouts came in fourth (the latter did not even reach one per cent).

Russia (46%), Brazil (15%) and India (7%) suffered the highest number of phishing attacks. Kasperky recorded 480 attack-related sightings worldwide and on average per day.

According to one study, users had 20 per cent more messaging apps last year, making them the most popular communication tool. Surveys also show that messengers were used by 2.7 billion people worldwide in 2020, and this number is expected to increase to 3.1 billion by 2023. That’s almost 40 per cent of the world’s population. Kaspersky has detected the most malicious links in WhatsApp, which they believe is due to the popularity of the messenger. The largest proportion of such messages were detected in Russia (42%), Brazil (17%) and India (7%). According to Kaspersky, Telegram had the fewest such cases, although even in geographical areas similar to WhatsApp.

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Viber and Hangouts recorded the fewest cases. The main difference between the two is regional representation, according to the company. In the case of Viber, the highest number of sightings was recorded mainly in Russia (89%) and the CIS states (Ukraine 5% and Belarus 2%). For Hangouts, most sightings occurred in the USA (39%) and France (39%). For WhatsApp, Brazil (177) and India (158) were at the forefront of phishing attacks per user. At the same time, for Viber and Telegram, Russian users became the number one in terms of the number of sightings compared to other countries (Viber: 305 sightings, Telegram: 79 sightings).

This is partly because these applications are extremely popular with users and partly because the built-in features of the applications are suitable for carrying out attacks. It is often difficult to determine whether the attack is really phishing since the difference can be just one character or one small error. The combination of vigilance and anti-phishing technologies is a reliable tool in the fight against phishing through messaging apps.”

One way to reduce risks is that the user neither shares nor clicks suspicious links.

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