More than two thirds of people say they have been targeted by phishing emails, according to research by Bondgate IT.
The Darlington-based IT business is warning both businesses and individuals to be more aware of this widespread form of cyberattack after 68% of respondents believe they have received phishing emails during the past six months as part of an attempt to harvest sensitive data.
The nationwide poll found 23% of people reported receiving a greater number of phishing emails compared with the previous six month period – while 28.5% percent were unsure.
Of those who did receive phishing emails, 41% estimated they had received up to 10 during the last six months, 16% believed they had received 11 to 25, 9% estimated they had been sent 26 to 50, while 16% estimated receiving an even greater figure.
While most respondents (94%) said they had not been a victim of fraud due to a phishing email, 6% admitted to suffering a loss as a result.
These insights, based on a sample of almost 1,500 people, were derived from MiniPolls conducted by independent market research company DRG.
Garry Brown, Managing Director of Bondgate IT, said: “Sadly many victims can be completely unaware that they have been the victim of a phishing attack and don’t always appreciate the dangers of opening what might appear to be a legitimate email and clicking on what is in reality a malicious link or attachment.
“As a result, all kinds of sensitive data could be being posted for sale to criminals operating on the dark web in a matter of minutes.
“Such attacks are growing in sophistication and range from targeting individuals to gain sensitive information, such as passwords and account details, to so-called whaling – where cyber criminals target senior management of a company, such as a CEO or CFO, often with devastating effects.
“Other forms of phishing involve substituting emails for SMS and the cloning of legitimate emails to create an identical email which contains malicious content.”
“Such fraud, in extreme cases, can cost a business millions of pounds and result in the paralysis of an entire IT system with obvious adverse effects.
“Everyone who uses email must be on their guard, especially businesses and financial institutions which are increasingly being targeted by cybercriminals due to the amount of potential financial gain.”
Bondgate IT, one of the North East’s longest established IT companies, has responded to the threat by providing businesses with a continuous dark web monitoring service. This quickly notifies victims whenever their compromised data appears for sale on the dark web, vastly reducing the risk of major and dangerous security breaches.