Phishing attacks cause US$453m in global losses: RSA

Approximately 46,747 phishing attacks took place globally during December 2014, according to report

Businesses around the world lost a total of US$453 million (A$347.4 million) as a result of phishing attacks during December 2014, according to a new report by RSA.

The Monthly Online Fraud Report – January 2015 found that there were 46,747 phishing attacks worldwide in December, a 24 per cent decrease from the 61,278 attacks recorded in November 2014.

The decrease in phishing attacks was due to a drop in online shopping volumes following the November peak, said the report.

United States regional banks were targeted by one quarter of all phishing attacks in December while US nationwide banks experienced an increase in phishing volumes from 50 per cent in November to 58 per cent in December.

The US hosted 48 per cent of phishing attacks in December, followed by the United Kingdom (7 per cent), Germany (5 per cent) and China (3 per cent).

This was in contrast to November 2014 when 50 per cent of attacks were hosted in the US, followed by Argentina (5 per cent), Colombia (4 per cent) and Brazil (4 per cent).

Phishing emails attempted to reel in Australians during 2014.

In November, New South Wales residents complained that they were receiving emails claiming to be from the NSW Office of State Revenue (OSR) or State Debt Recovery Office (SDRO) which demanded payment for speeding or other traffic infringements. Neither the OSR nor SDRO issue fines and penalty notices via email.

Utility companies were also targeted by scammers looking to make money out of unsuspecting customers.

In June 2014, utility provider EnergyAustralia warned customers about an email phishing scam that claimed to contain a link to their electricity or gas bill. The link contained a malicious payload which would install malware on the user's device.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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