Cybercriminals are leveraging AI-powered tools to enhance their social engineering attacks, using these tools to write plausible emails designed to deceive unaware victims and steal their personal information. To minimize the success rate of these schemes, Check Point’s Brand Phishing Report highlights the brands that were most imitated by hackers during 2Q23, aiming to improve users’ cybersecurity awareness.
"Phishing continues to be one of the most common forms of cyberattacks, and we see how brands from very different sectors continue to be impersonated, whether they are from retail, technology, or the banking sector. The increasingly widespread use of AI makes it more difficult to differentiate between a genuine and a fraudulent email," says Miguel Hernández y López, Director of Engineering and Security, Check Point Mexico.
Phishing emails often mimic official communications from respected authorities to coerce individuals into revealing confidential information. In brand phishing attacks, however, cybercriminals take these efforts even further. Beyond a well redacted email, cybercriminals looking to impersonate brands tend to design sophisticated imitations of their website by using a similar domain name or URL. After accessing the fake website, users are asked to fill up a form that is intended to store and steal their login credentials, confidential data, or banking information, exposing them to data breaches or financial fraud.
According to Check Point’s report, technological companies were the most impersonated by cybercriminals during 2Q23. During that time slot, phishing scams imitating Microsoft’s website constituted 29% of all brand phishing attacks, followed closely by Google with 19.5% and Apple with 5.2%. However, retail companies like Walmart, Amazon, and Home Depot were also targeted by these types of cyberattacks, with each company accounting for 3.9%, 4%, and 2.5% of all brand phishing attacks recorded and identified by Check Point during the period, respectively. Additional impersonated brands include Wells Fargo, Roblox, and Facebook, among others.
In its report, Check Point explained that a counterfeit Walmart confirmation email prompted recipients to click on a malicious link by offering them a US$500 gift card as a token of appreciation for customer loyalty. Meanwhile, another phishing email posing as LinkedIn falsely claimed to contain business messages, redirecting users to a fraudulent Microsoft login page to illicitly obtain users’ login credentials and banking information.
“For organizations worried about their own data and reputation, it is key that they take advantage of the right technologies that can effectively block these emails before they have a chance to dupe a victim,” says Omer Dembinsky, Data Group Manager, Check Point Software.
To mitigate the associated risks related to phishing scams, Check Point recently revealed its Zero Phishing tool, a security measure aimed at detecting fake domains impersonating multiple brands.