A phishing attack is when criminals create fake websites that look like well-known websites such as Marks and Spencer or HMRC or British Gas etc. They use the fake websites to get your confidential information.
The statistics below refer to sites that pretend to be government.
Top 10 Government ‘Brands’
Brand No of phishing sites No of attack groups Availability hours
HM Revenue & Customs 16,064 2,466 10
Gov.uk 1,541 241 15
TV Licensing 172 93 5
DVLA 107 53 11
Government Gateway 46 22 6
Crown Prosecution Service 43 26 15
Student Loans Company 19 11 17
Student Finance Direct 13 3 3
British Broadcasting Corporation 8 7 35
The availability (in hours) of an attack is the total amount of time the phishing site is available from when the Netcraft service first becomes aware of the attack through to when it is finally taken down.
When a phishing site is identified that is pretending to be a UK government brand, the hosting provider is asked to take the site down.
For example:- a fraudster using an email address onlinehmrctax @ gov.co.uk. and a matching website. That is intended to deceive the user into thinking this is a real HMRC site. Not all phishing sites use domains like this and many are hosted in areas of legitimate sites that have been compromised by the criminal.
A single attack can involve multiple spoof sites, hosted on the same server. If there are many phishing URLs in a single attack, they can easily skew statistics through the responsiveness or otherwise of the hosting provider.
Over the last calendar year, 18, 067 HMG-related phishing sites have been removed.
For comparison, in the previous 6 months , the volume was 19,443 sites.. It’s clear that here are fewer HMG-related phishing takedowns in 2017 and the trend is generally downward. Given how the service is driven, it’s reasonable to assume that it sees a relatively constant percentage of the global phishing and so this strongly suggests that there has been less HMG-related phishing this year than last.
However, it is very likely that this work has had a direct impact on the viability of criminal phishing targeting HMG brands, making them less lucrative and therefore less likely to be used.
It’s obvious from the table that the vast majority of HMG-related phishing attacks continue to use the HMRC brand. That’s unsurprising given that most adults have a relationship with them and everyone would welcome a tax refund.
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