Phishing attacks grow in Israel due to coronavirus, as global trends fall

A 60% increase was reported in Israel compared to global trends which have decreased by 10%.

People pose in front of a display showing the word 'cyber' in binary code, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica (photo credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS)
People pose in front of a display showing the word 'cyber' in binary code, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica
(photo credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS)
Phishing attacks, attempts used by hackers to try and gain sensitive information from people by using fake links or websites, have tripled in Israel since the coronavirus outbreak, the Calcalist reported, citing a report from the cyber company Kaspersky.
In the first quarter of the year there were nearly 900,000 cases in which people clicked links leading to malware, marking a 60% increase and three times the registered amount of attacks since last year. Kaspersky attributed the growing trend of phishing attacks in Israel to the outbreak of the coronavirus, as hackers take advantage of "public gloom" caused by the restrictions put in place such as social isolation measures.
However, despite phishing attack trends in Israel surging since the outbreak, global trends have actually decreased by 10%. Kaspersky explained that this could be related to the fact that most countries recently saw a gradual return to normal with pre-outbreak patterns, while Israel's numbers have continued to grow. Recently, Israel surpassed China, the epicenter of the outbreak, in number of coronavirus cases.
The theory holds true when applied to other countries that have seen a rise rather than decrease in their number of coronavirus cases. The volume of email malware, another method of hacking, for example, was very high in countries where the pandemic is still active such as Russia, Spain, and Brazil, according to the Calcalist,
Attacks are most often designed to gain access to usernames and passwords, access to internal systems that allow goods to be stolen, or industrial espionage, the Calcalist reported. In some cases campaigns will send a text message containing a link, that once clicked, will call to a hotline which charges hundreds of shekels per minute. Using this method, one Israeli campaign sent out hundreds of text messages containing a link connected to an erotic dating service hotline. The link was reportedly taken down later by Israeli phone services which blocked the number.
Phishing attacks gather their victims by mimicking legitimate emails or texts, and generally target online store and traders, web-based portals, and banks. Surprisingly however, the cyber company report found that social media only came in fourth place when comparing number of attempted attacks.
Banks are considered to be an elite target, and access details for their internal systems are traded at very high prices in hacker chat rooms, according to the Calcalist.
In terms of individual accounts, stolen PayPal account details can sell for an average of $198.56 and actual PayPal transfers from a stolen account of sums between $1,000-$3,000 sold for $320.39 on average, according to data gathered by the Privacy Affairs, a data privacy and cybersecurity research and information site.
Additionally, with regard to credit card information, the Privacy Affairs' researchers found that stolen online banking logins with a minimum of $100 on the account sold for $35 while stolen banking logins with a minimum of $2,000 on account sold for $65.
Lidar Grave-Lazi contributed to this report.