Christmas remains a hot time for phishing attacks

Up to a fifth of British internet users have fallen victim to a phishing campaign, research finds

Although half of British internet users delete phishing emails as soon as they receive them, one fifth have fallen for the scams, according to research. 

These figures have come to light as we head into the festive season - one of the rifest periods for criminals to launch attacks on their victims, according to GMX, which commissioned the study.

GMX explained the most frequent type of phishing attack at this time of year are linked to logistics, with criminals faking emails from parcel suppliers, using track and trace links as a gateway to the malware.

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Because more people receive parcels at Christmas, the criminals' rate of success is statistically higher, making it a highly effective way to steal victims' details, the company explained.

"During the festive period not only does the number of phishing scams increase, but also the quality," said Jan Oetjen, CEO of GMX.

"Cyber criminals are highly professional and manage to copy invoices or newsletters so well that they can hardly be differentiated from the original. Therefore, users should keep an eye on their mailbox with increased attention."

Although half of phishing recipients usually delete malicious emails as soon as they receive them, just under a quarter (24 percent) mark them as spam and two percent say curiosity gets the better of them, so they do open them.

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GMX advised anyone receiving a suspicious email that looks as though it may be from a shipping company should manually enter the company's web address into their browser rather than clicking the link. From there, they can enter the tracking information provided in the email - if there is any. Some 26 percent of those questioned by GMX said they follow this process to ensure they're not a victim of a phishing campaign.

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