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Norton research finds NZ threat landscape diversifying on social media

By Mitchell Hageman
Fri 5 Aug 2022

Norton's quarterly report has highlighted the seriousness of the threat landscape in New Zealand. 

The report found that between April and June 2022, Norton thwarted over 4,851,389 threats which was an average of around 53,312 threats per day.

New information on the type of attacks that were being carried out was also revealed, with a particular focus on social media phishing tactics.

Conducted by Norton Labs, NortonLifeLocks global research team, the Consumer Cyber Safety Pulse Report also detailed other top consumer cybersecurity insights relating to the current threat landscape.

The analysis revealed a myriad of fake login pages that were designed to trick victims into inputting their login credentials, but the diversity and complexity of lures went beyond that one technique. Threat actors were found to use social media for phishing attacks due to its low-effort and high-return nature, impacting billions of people around the world.

NortonLifeLock head of technology Darren Shou says that as attacks in the space become more sophisticated, people need to be aware of the risks involved and bolster their security accordingly.

"As social media is intertwined in our daily lives, it's key to know how to spot the signs of a scam and keep a sharp eye on where requests for your information are coming from," he says.

"Even better, consider strong, multi-layered security that can be on the lookout for you, too."

Tactics discovered in the research included:

  • Account lockouts making it seem that a victims account has been locked due to copyright violations.
  • Follower generator services luring victims to reveal login credentials or install malware on the promise of increasing follow count.
  • Verified badge scams prompting users to login to obtain, or not to lose, their verified status on the platform.

Another phishing campaign that was prominent was one that aimed to intercept temporary codes by breaking into profiles with two-factor authentication enabled. These tokens are generally tied to a victim's device, allowing the scammer to perform privileged operations, such as modifying personal details or login credentials.

On a global scale, it was found that there were 302,000 mobile threats and 78,000 ransomware attacks. There were also 2.6 million phishing attempts globally, with 37,183 blocked in New Zealand and 103.7 million file threats, with 275,463 blocked in New Zealand.

Norton says that overall, they thwarted over 900 million threats or around 10 million threats per day globally. The company specialises in online safety solutions and operates worldwide.

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