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6/11/2018
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Fewer Phishing Attacks Hit More Diverse Targets

Nearly 300 brands were hit with phishing attacks in Q1, with cloud storage providers now among the top 10 most targeted.

Phishing detections are down for the second consecutive quarter, RiskIQ researchers report, but attacks are hitting a more diverse set of brands. A total of 299 unique brands were targeted with phishing attacks in Q1 2018, up from 259 brands in Q4 2017.

It's worth noting the decline is slight, at 2%, report RiskIQ researchers in their Q1 2018 Phishing Roundup and 2017 Recap. Data on targeted brands was richer than it has been in the past, with cloud storage providers now appearing in the top 10 most targeted for Q1.

The arrival of cloud storage providers shows attackers are phishing a more diverse pool of brands. At 40% of targets, financial institutions remain the most frequently hit, followed by digital transaction providers (20%), large tech companies (10%), major health insurance providers (10%), cloud storage providers (10%), and social media platforms (10%).

It's not unusual to see financial companies commonly targeted, researchers point out, but attackers are using different means to phish them. Much of social media as a target from Q4 2017 is "now mostly gone," a sign of threat actors turning back to older tactics, according to the researchers.

GoDaddy led the list of registrars used by phishing URLs in Q1, followed by Register.com, PublicDomainRegistry.com, eNom, and Tocows Domains. This marks a major shift from the previous quarter, when Hostinger led the pack. Now it has dropped from the top five registrars entirely, which researchers attribute to the cyclical nature of phishing attacks and their infrastructure.

Names also shifted in the top hosting providers used by phishing attackers in Q1, with all top five moving positions and three new names on the list. The top hosting provider for phishing URLs was Unified Layer, followed by CyrusOne, Bizineshost-AS, OVH, and Global Net Access.

"Phishing actors are constantly changing infrastructure, so they have shopped elsewhere in Q1 rather than using the same tools from Q4," RiskIQ reports.

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Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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