Phishing: the predominant threat for all audiences

First threat for individuals and communities and administrations, and second for businesses and associations, phishing (phishing in English) remains in 2023 the main threat for all categories of public recorded in our last activity report, at the high level of intensity observed in 2022.

What is phishing?

Phishing can take many forms: electronic messages (email), SMS (smishing), instant messages, publications on social networks, sponsored links on search engines, telephone calls (vishing), fraudulent QR codes…

It always aims to create, under a legitimate and credible appearance, a feeling of urgency or interest among victims to deceive them in order to encourage them to carry out an action, such as providing personal or confidential data (passwords, contact details bank card, validation codes, etc.) or download a malicious program (virus) which will take control of their device.

It has been around for several years now a real cybercriminal phishing ecosystem which markets methods, lists of email addresses or active telephone numbers, fake messages, very realistic fake sites, at ever more competitive prices which make them accessible to small, rapidly growing cybercrime groups.

The information recovered following phishing is resold on cybercriminal marketplaces to anyone who thinks they can exploit it.

For victims, the consequences of phishing can be diverse: account hacking, fraudulent bank debits, viral infection, ransomware attack, calls from fake bank advisors, etc.

What are the main forms of phishing observed?

In 2023, the content produced by Cybermalveillance.gouv.fr on the main forms of phishing and ways to deal with it garnered 1.5 million consultations and 50,000 individuals and professionals sought assistance on this phenomenon.

This ranking of the most frequent types of phishing in 2023 shows the great diversity of pretexts used by cybercriminals.

With more than 280,000 views of the dedicated article, phishingtraffic offenseby email and especially by SMS, requesting payment of a fictitious fine is the most important phenomenon which continued throughout 2023.

Phishingchild pornography offense has for its part decreased considerably in intensity while remaining at a very high level of searches for assistance. The multiple communications carried out on this form of malicious intent for three years now are undoubtedly not unrelated to this decline, even if too many people continue to wonder about these fraudulent messages.

Phishing Crit’Air stickerwhich had marked the end of the year 2022 until the beginning of the year 2023, finally dried up in the first quarter, but could obviously resurface depending on current events.

Phenomenon of the end of 2023, phishing to children who have a problem with their phone (known as “ Hi Mom…”) quickly made a notable entry into this ranking and could become established over time.

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