Microsoft Is the Most Impersonated Brand in Phishing Attacks

Vade’s H1 Report Highlights the 25 Most Impersonated Brands in Phishing

Vade, a global leader in threat detection and response with more than 1.4 billion mailboxes protected worldwide, today announced its H1 2022 Phishers’ Favorites report. Phishers’ Favorites is a ranking of the top 25 most impersonated brands in phishing attacks. Microsoft came in at #1 on the list, followed by Facebook. Rounding out the top five are Crédit Agricole, WhatsApp, and Orange.

Microsoft continues to be a top target for brand impersonation

With 11,041 unique phishing URLs, Microsoft is the top target for brand impersonation. The popularity of Microsoft 365 among SMBs and enterprises has made Microsoft a lucrative target for phishers hoping to steal valuable data from Microsoft 365 applications. Additionally, compromising a Microsoft 365 account allows hackers to conduct internal attacks, such as distributing malware, launching ransomware attacks, and manipulating users into participating in business email compromise.

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Phishing attacks increased in Q1, then declined in Q2

According to the Phishers’ Favorites report, which you can read in full here, Q1 saw the most phishing attacks, with 81,447 unique phishing URLs detected, compared to 53,198 in Q2. For most brands, the phishing increase in Q1 was drastic. Among the most notable increases, Google phishing increased 873 percent, Apple phishing increased 737 percent, and Instagram phishing increased 683 percent. Microsoft phishing increased 266 percent in Q1, while Facebook phishing declined 12 percent, making Facebook the only brand in the top 25 to see a QoQ decline in Q1.

Financial services was the most impersonated industry

Financial services brands saw the most impersonation of any industry represented in the report. The financial services industry had a total of eight brands in the top 25. Cloud followed with six brands on the list. The eCommerce/logistics and telco industries each had four brands in the top 25, followed by social media with three.

Highlights from the report

  • Phishers are most likely to attack on weekdays.
  • 34 percent of phishing URLs impersonated financial services brands in H1.
  • Facebook and WhatsApp were the most impersonated social media brands.
  • Microsoft was the most impersonated cloud brand.

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