UK web users are the most likely targets for phishing scams in the world
Phishing scams are a problem around the world -- and it's likely that one or more was at least partly responsible for the Fappening -- but it seems that it is more of a problem in some places than others.
Just about all of us have received emails that contain malicious links, but analysis by Proofpoint found that web users in the UK are more than two and a half times as likely to receive phishing mail as those in the US. Germany fairs much better, receiving just a fifth of the number of scam emails as the UK. But these numbers are not the whole story -- phishing emails account for just a portion of unwanted emails.
While Germany did not find itself on the receiving end of too many phishing emails, it did receive more general spam than the UK, France, and the US. Proofpoint chose to use the US as a baseline, and only France found itself on the receiving end of (marginally) less spam. As the security researchers note, this shows that "email accounts in the UK are targeted with a smaller amount of unsolicited email than Germany, France or the US; but as much as five times more of these emails contain malicious URLs."
So just what do these malicious emails contain? Some house links to malware, some to viruses, and others to phishing sites. To help suck in as many victims as possible, the phishing scams emulated the appearance of emails from banks such as RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland). Proofpoint notes that the emails are "simple and of overall good quality", but point outs that one banking email included a disclaimer that seemed to refer to a "you've won a prize" scam email.
The research firm continues to find the same viruses and malware cropping up time and time again. The Dyre Trojan -- made famous through the GameOver Zeus takedown -- is still being delivered through the Upatre downloader.