According to data presented by Atlas VPN, social media attacks on payment services increased by 561.8%, comparing 2021 Q1 to 2021 Q2. Social media platforms have many weak points that allow threat actors to carry out various types of internet crime.
The data is supplied by PhisLabs, where researchers analysed hundreds of thousands of phishing and social media attacks targeting enterprises, their employees, and their brands.
“There are countless attack vectors, and social media has not been at the forefront for most threat actors. Yet, we see a different trend in the first half of 2021 – cybercriminals increasingly use impersonation, fraud, and other cyber threats to attack businesses on social media,” says Edward Garb, a cybersecurity researcher at Atlas VPN.
While attacks on payment services increased the most, other industries also experienced significant growth in threats.
Hospitals and healthcare enterprises also saw a massive jump in attacks. Attacks on healthcare companies increased by 187.8%. Hackers also carried out significantly more attacks on businesses in the broadcast media industry, with a steep surge of 112.5%.
Fraud looms on social media
Individuals and brands encounter various types of threats on social media. Fraud is by far the most common type of internet crime that plagued businesses. Nearly half of the threats encountered (45.6%), fall under the fraud category. Compared to Q1, fraud threats escalated by 23.7%.
Fraud refers to a type of internet crime intended to deceive a victim or offer illicit gain to the threat actor, such as the unauthorized selling of account credentials or exposing banking information.
Brand and employee impersonations were the second most common threats encountered by businesses, making up 21.8% of all threats. Most impersonators spoof a corporate brand, CEO, or employee with the objective of swaying victims into taking a specific action. Usually, the final goal of the fraudster is to obtain sensitive information or to convince the victim to transfer money.
Cyber attacks, mainly in the form of hacking attempts, comprised 19.1% of all social media threats to enterprises globally. Data leaks also make the top five list, comprising 13.2% of the total volume of threats.
The analysis also reveals that brands and employees receive a number of physical threats, but they represent a relatively small percentage of the total, at only 0.3%.
While there are countless attack vectors, social media has not been at the forefront for most threat actors. Yet, we see a different trend in the first half of 2021 – cybercriminals increasingly use impersonation, fraud, and other cyber threats to attack businesses on social media.