Phishing remains a major threat in Russia and the EU

The number of phishing attacks in Russia and the EU countries has significantly increased in recent months.

Phishing remains a major threat in Russia and the EU
Phishing remains a major threat in Russia and the EU

The number of phishing attacks in Russia and the EU countries has significantly increased in recent months, according to a report from Kaspersky Lab.

An official Kaspersky Lab spokesman told SCMagazineUK.com that the company had registered 36.3 million phishing attacks on computers in Russia and Western European countries in the third quarter of the current year, compared to 30.8 million attacks during the same period of last year.

The volume of damage caused by these attacks is not disclosed. According to Ilya Kostunov, a member of the Committee for Security and Anti-Corruption of the Russian State Duma, in Russia alone the damage caused by cyber-criminals using phishing schemes was put at at least 4 billion rubles (US$ 100 million/ £66 million) last year. In addition to Russia, the problem of phishing attacks has also become very pressing for the EU states.

Kostunov told SC that last year every third Internet user in both Russia and the EU had become a subject of phishing attacks.

An official spokesman of the Russian Ministry of Interior told SC that phishing has become one of the most common ways to steal money on the Internet. The situation is aggravated by the fact that the rate of detection of these crimes remains small, not exceeding 20 percent both in Russia and the EU.

Elena Malak, a senior public prosecutor at the Russian Prosecutor General, told SC that the main reason for such low detection rates is lack of judicial involvement, which is associated with serious problems during the initiation of criminal proceedings for such activities, as well as the slow response of financial institutions, which sometimes refuse to share information about phishing attacks due to bank secrecy.

The problem remains very pressing, as, despite the fact that phishing sites are usually blocked in a couple of hours at the request of the Prosecutor's Offices, fraudsters are still able to steal money as the majority of phishing sites only operate for a day, while copies of web-sites of major banks often last only a few minutes.

An official spokesman of Kaspersky Lab also told SC that cyber-criminals have started to pay more attention to mobile devices. In the third quarter of 2015, the number of new malicious programs for mobile devices (that steal banking data from their users) detected by Kaspersky analysts was up four-fold compared to the same period in 2014.