Based on the number of phishing sites we observed in 2012, it appears that cybercriminals have discovered a new target in mobile devices.
For 2012, we found 4,000 phishing URLs designed for mobile Web. Though this number represents less than 1% of all the phishing URLs gathered that year, this highlights that mobile devices (smartphones, tablets and the likes) are valid platforms to launch phishing attacks.
Cybercriminals use phishing sites, which are spoofed versions of legitimate sites, to trick users into disclosing sensitive information like usernames, passwords, and even account details.
What’s more worrisome is the kind of websites these phishing attacks spoof. In 2012, 75% of mobile phishing URLs were rogue versions of well-known banking or financial sites. Once users are tricked into divulging their login credentials to these sites, cybercriminals can use these stolen data to initiate unauthorized transactions and purchases via the victim’s account.
A portion of these phishing sites were designed to spoof social networking sites (2%) and online shopping sites (4%). This small number for phishing sites for social media may be due to users preference for social media apps. Because users are unlikely to visit social networking sites by Web mobile, launching phishing equivalent of these pages may not be an effective way to target users.
These numbers are consistent with our top 10 most phished entities, in which majority are banking or credit card websites.
Figure 1. Mobile phishing URLs by industry