Security Experts:

Phishers Favor Friday for Attacks, Websense Finds

If you and your co-workers are looking forward to Friday, you are not alone – phishers are looking forward to it as well.

In an analysis of phishing schemes between July and August, researchers at Websense found that 38.5 percent of the phishing attacks they detected were conducted on Friday, with Monday (30 percent) and Sunday (10.9 percent) coming in at second and third, respectively. 

"The bad guys know potential victim’s behavioral patterns," blogged Patrik Runald, director of research for Websense Security Labs. "They know worker’s minds can stray on Fridays in a more relaxed setting. Relaxation and anticipation of the weekend can lead to more web browsing and an increased likelihood to click on links in emails. Similarly, stricken by a case of the Monday Blues, workers are also more likely to wander. By studying these behavioral elements, phishers know that they can increase their success rate. These guys are masters of lures and understanding their subjects." 

The United States leads the way as far as countries hosting the most phishing URLs between Sept. 30, 2011, and Oct. 1, 2012. According to Websense, all but one of the top five phishing email subject lines are related to security. Between July and September, the most common subject line used by phishers was "Your account has been accessed by a third party," the firm said. 

"How many times have you been browsing a web page and you get a pop up warning you that your computer is compromised? Most of us now know that these popups are the result of a fake AV scam and many of us have been conditioned not to click on these," Runald blogged. "However, if you receive a security alert email that looks like it comes from an organization you have a relationship with, such as a bank, or a social network you are a member of, it may increase your likelihood to click."

Just recently, FireEye published a report about social engineering that showed cybercriminals also look to create a sense of urgency about mail or express shipments to dupe unsuspecting victims into downloading malware. During the first half of 2012, malicious file names detected by FireEye often used the words 'DHL' (23.42 percent), 'notification' (23.37 percent) and 'delivery' (12.35 percent). During the second half of 2011, the top three most common words used in malicious file names were 'label', 'invoice' and 'post', FireEye found.

"Spear-phishing is one of the most pressing issues IT officers face today, and one they feel the least confident addressing," Runald wrote. "Spear-phishing by definition isn’t a widely cast net. Instead, the attackers use well-crafted lures that incite a group or an individual’s urge to click. They are essentially socially engineering their victims onto the spear."

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