Kaspersky has developed a study in which chat applications are revealed (messengers) most popular among cybercriminals to promote cyber attacks. phishing. The highest percentage of malicious calls detected between December 2020 and May 2021 was sent via WhatsApp (89.6%), followed by Telegram (5.6%).
Viber comes in third with a 4.7% share, and Hangouts has less than one percent. The countries that registered the highest number of attacks from phishing were Russia (46%), Brazil (15%) and India (7%). Worldwide, 480 detections were recorded per day.
According to Kaspersky’s investigation, chat applications, in terms of popularity among users, surpassed social networks by 20% in the year 2020, becoming the most popular communication tool. You results also show that by 2020, the global audience for conversational applications amounted to 2.7 billion people, and by 2023, it is expected to grow to 3.1 billion, or around 40% of the population. worldwide.
Kaspersky Internet Security for Android has added a new feature – the Safe Messaging – which prevents users from opening malicious connections from chat applications (WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram, Hangouts) and SMS. As a result, Kaspersky analyzed anonymous clicks on links from phishing in conversation applications and found that between December 2020 and May 2021, 91,242 detections were recorded worldwide.
According to statistics, Kaspersky Internet Security for Android detected the most malicious connections on WhatsApp, in part due to the fact that it is the most popular platform worldwide. Most messages were detected in Russia (42%), Brazil (17%) and India (7%).
Among Kaspersky Internet Security for Android users, Telegram has fewer detections, but reveals geographic similarities with WhatsApp: the highest number of malicious calls was detected in Russia (56%), India (6%) and Turkey (4 %). The high numbers in Russia are probably due to the increasing popularity of this application in the country.
Regarding Portugal, the country occupies the 22nd position in the world ranking among the countries in the world most affected by attacks from phishing, through WhatsApp.
Based on the data collected, Viber and Hangouts verified the lowest number of detections recorded. The main difference between them is the regional representation. The highest number of detections on Viber was identified mainly in Russia, with 89%, and in the CIS countries (Central European Initiative) – Ukraine with 5% and Belarus with 2% – while the majority of detections in Hangouts were observed in the US (39%) and France (39%).
Regarding the number of attacks from phishing registered by user on WhatsApp, Brazil (177) and India (158) lead. Simultaneously, Russian users became leaders in the number of detections on Viber (305) and Telegram (79), when compared to other countries.
“The data demonstrates that phishing in chat applications is still one of the most popular tools among cybercriminals. This is due, in part, to the great popularity of these applications among the public, as well as the ability to use the applications’ built-in functionality to carry out attacks. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine if an attack is phishing, as the difference can be just a letter or a minor error. Surveillance, combined with anti-phishing technologies, is a reliable tool in the fight against phishing in these types of applications”, comments Tatyana Shcherbakova, Senior Web Content Analyst at Kaspersky.
To reduce the risk of being a victim of fraud and receiving malicious calls through chat applications, Kaspersky advises you to:
- Be aware and look for spelling mistakes or other irregularities in the links;
- Don’t share and be aware of suspicious links. A “chain scheme” is a common practice, where a cybercriminal asks a user to share a malicious link with their contacts. We must be aware of this fact and not share any link suspicious with our contacts;
- Check spelling. Cybercriminals often use WhatsApp and other similar applications to communicate with users they have legitimately encountered (eg various markets and accommodation booking services) and also use them as a means of communicating in malicious messages. Even if the messages and websites look real, the links will most likely be spelled incorrectly or may redirect us to a different page.
- Pay attention to messages even from people you know. We must remember that even our best friends’ accounts can be hacked, making it necessary to remain cautious in any situation. Even if a message looks friendly, we must be careful with links and attachments;
- Install a trusted security solution and follow its recommendations. Security solutions will resolve most issues automatically and alert us if necessary.