Security

Social media support fraud is up nearly 500%, reaches highest level ever

While social media platforms have succeeded in protecting users from phishing links, angler phishing has become the new mode of attack for many malicious actors.

Social media support fraud, also referred to as "angler phishing," has reached an all-time high, according to Proofpoint's Quarter 3 Threat Report . The report found angler phishing to have increased by 486% since this quarter last year, said the report, revealing how social media cyber attack methods are changing.

The report studied more than 5 billion email messages, hundreds of millions of social media posts, and more than 250,000 million malware samples to inform companies about the current cybersecurity threats and help find ways to mitigate them, according to the report.

SEE: IT leader's guide to the threat of cyberwarfare (Tech Pro Research)

Social media channels are a hotbed for fraud and theft, according to the report. Platforms have created successful automated protective strategies, however, and companies have been able to decrease phishing links by 90% since Q3 2017, said the report. But this success has been superseded by the increase in concerns around angler phishing.

Angler phishing poses as a legitimate conversation between consumer and brand on social media, fooling customers into giving away their personal information to a supposedly trusted vendor. Knowing this, however, can help companies change their cybersecurity strategies, said the report.

Here are four recommendations to help keep your business protect, according to the report.

  1. Identify and quarantine inbound threats targeting employees and outbound threats targeting customers.
  2. Invest in a robust email fraud defense that has dynamic classification capabilities.
  3. Protect the brand and your customers through a social media security solution that can scan all social networks and look for suspicious activity.
  4. Speak with a threat intelligence worker who specializes in smaller, more targeted attacks.

Check out this TechRepublic piece to learn more about the prevalence of phishing attacks on business.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Social media support fraud, or angler phishing, has hit an all-time high this quarter, increasing by 486% since last year. — Proofpoint, 2018
  • In order to stay protected from phishing, users need to invest in the right defense systems to detect suspicious social media activity. — Proofpoint, 2018

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/oatawa

About Macy Bayern

Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.

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