Apple phishing sites a growing concern as holidays approach

While users of Apple devices have long thought themselves immune from the sort of security vulnerabilities that bedevil Windows users, a new report indicates Canadian Apple users may be in the crosshairs as the holidays approach.

Security vendor Trend Micro has released its Q3 Security Roundup Report and, with an increase in mobile shopping and banking on Apple and Android smartphones, tablets and computers expected as the holiday season begins, it is raising a number of red flags.

According to the report, with the increasing proliferation of Apple phishing sites and the well-reported growth in Android malware, as well as a notable increase in malware targeting online banking, mobile users need to be wary of which apps they use for their holiday shopping, and take steps to protect their personal and financial data.

“With the holiday shopping season about to begin, criminals are rapidly developing tools that no good can come of,” said JD Sherry, vice-president of technology and solutions with Trend Micro, in a statement. “Cybercrime thieves are ready to take full advantage of the fact that, while Apple has been traditionally perceived as a safe-haven against threats, our findings show personal information can be jeopardized as phishing scams targeting the platform continue to gain momentum.”

The report indicates that Apple-related phishing sites spiked in Q2 and remained steady in Q3, and speculates a spike is possible in Q4 with an estimated 31 million new iPhones and 15 million iPads expected to come online following recent Apple product releases.

And on the Android front, Trend Micro reports that the number of malicious and high-risk Android apps top one million in Q3, many of them disguised as fake or Trojanized versions of popular apps. And some 200,000 malware infections targeting online banking were also identified in Q3.

Trend Micro image
Trend Micro image

Looking at Canada specifically, we ranked ninth on the list of countries with the highest malicious Android app download volumes, ninth on the global list of top countries at risk of privacy exposure due to app use and fifth for the greatest number of botnet connections.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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