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Microsoft Dominates as the Most Impersonated Brand for Phishing Scams in Q2 2023

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Check Point Research (CPR), the Threat Intelligence arm of Check Point® Software Technologies and a leading provider of cyber security solutions globally, has published its Brand Phishing Report for Q2 2023.

The report highlights the brands that were most frequently imitated by cybercriminals in their attempts to steal individuals personal information or payment credentials during April, May and June 2023.

Last quarter global technology company Microsoft climbed up the rankings, moving from third place in Q1 2023 to top spot in Q2. The tech giant accounted for 29% of all brand phishing attempts.

This may be partially explained by a phishing campaign that saw hackers targeting account holders with fraudulent messaging regarding unusual activity on their account.

The report ranked Google in second place, accounting for 19% of all attempts and Apple in third, featuring in 5% of all phishing events during the last quarter. In terms of industry, the technology sector was the most impersonated, followed by banking and social media networks.

At the beginning of this year, CPR warned of an upward trend that saw phishing campaigns leveraging the finance industry, and this has continued over the last three months. For example, American banking organization Wells Fargo took fourth place this quarter due to a series of malicious emails requesting account information.

Similar tactics were noted in other scams that imitated brands such as Walmart and LinkedIn, which also featured in this report’s top ten list taking sixth and eighth place.

“While the most impersonated brands move around quarter to quarter, the tactics that cybercriminals use scarcely do. This is because the method of flooding our inboxes and luring us into a false sense of security by using reputable logos has proven successful time and time again,” said Omer Dembinsky, Data Group Manager at Check Point Software.

This is why we all must commit to stop and review, taking a moment before clicking on any link we don’t recognize. Does something feel off? Is there bad grammar or any language that is prompting an instant response? If so, this may be an indicator of a phishing email.

For organizations worried about their own data and reputation, it is key that they take advantage of the right technologies that can effectively block these emails before they have chance to dupe a victim.

In its latest Titan release R81.20, Check Point has also announced an inline security technology called Zero Phishing was enhanced now with a new engine called Brand Spoofing Prevention, designed to stop brand impersonation and scaled to detect and block also local brands that are used as lures, in any language, any country, and it’s also prevents pre-emptively as the engine recognized the fake domains on registration stage and blocks access to them.

The solution uses an innovative AI-Powered engine, advanced Natural Language Processes and improved URL scanning capabilities to auto-inspect possible malicious attempts and block access to impersonated local and global brands across multiple languages and countries, resulting in a 40% higher catch rate than traditional technologies.

In a brand phishing attack, criminals try to imitate the official website of a well-known brand by using a similar domain name or URL and a web-page design that resembles the genuine site.

The link to the fake website can be sent to targeted individuals by email or text message, a user can be redirected during web browsing, or it may be triggered from a fraudulent mobile application. The fake website often contains a form intended to steal users credentials, payment details or other personal information.

Top phishing brands in Q2 2023

Below are the top brands ranked by their overall appearance in brand phishing attempts:

  1. Microsoft (29%)
  2. Google (19.5%)
  3. Apple (5.2%)
  4. Wells Fargo (4.2%)
  5. Amazon (4%)
  6. Walmart (3.9%)
  7. Roblox (3.8%)
  8. LinkedIn (3%)
  9. Home Depot (2.5%)
  10. Facebook (2.1%)

Microsoft Phishing Email Unusual Activity Example

In the second quarter of 2023, a phishing campaign targeted Microsoft account holders by sending fraudulent messages regarding unusual sign-in activity.

The campaign involved deceptive emails which were sent allegedly from inside the company with sender names such as Microsoft on <company domain>. The subject line of these phishing emails was “RE: Microsoft account unusual sign-in activity” and they claimed to have detected unusual sign-in activity on the recipient’s Microsoft account. The emails provided details of the alleged sign-in, such as the country/region, IP address, date, platform and browser.

To address this supposed security concern, the phishing emails urged recipients to review their recent activity by clicking on a provided link which leads to malicious websites unrelated to Microsoft. The URLs used in the campaign, such as hxxps://online.canpiagn[.]best/configurators.html and hxxps://bafybeigbh2hhq6giieo6pnozs6oi3n7x57wn5arfvgtl2hf2zuf65y6z7y[.]ipfs[.]dweb[.] The link is currently inaccessible, but the assumption is that they were designed to steal user credentials or personal information, or to download malicious content onto the users device.

 


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E-Business

Nigeria inflation rate hits 34.19%

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Nigeria’s annual inflation rate increased for the fifth consecutive month to 34.19 per cent as Nigerians battle with high living crisis.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), released on Monday, the June figure is 0.24 per cent higher than the 33.95 per cent recorded in May. The lowest figure in 2024 was 29.90 per cent, recorded in January.

On a year-on-year basis, the headline inflation rate was 11.40 per cent points higher compared to the rate recorded in June 2023, which was 22.79 per cent.

“This shows that the headline inflation rate (year-on-year basis) increased in the month of June 2024 when compared to the same month in the preceding year (i.e. June 2023),” the NBS said.

NBS said on a month-on-month basis, the headline inflation rate in June 2024 was 2.31 per cent, which was 0.17 per cent higher than the rate recorded in May 2024 (2.14 per cent) meaning that in the month of June 2024, the rate of increase in the average price level is higher than the rate of increase in the average price level in May 2024.

According to the NBS, the food inflation rate in June 2024 rose 40.87 per cent on a year-on-year basis, which was 15.62 per cent points higher compared to the rate recorded in June 2023 (25.25 per cent).


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Konga, CeraVe Ink MoU for Exclusive Launch of L’Oreal Product in Nigeria

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At long last, relief is here for the skincare enthusiasts in Nigeria! Konga Health, Nigeria’s premier digital healthcare distribution company, has sealed an exclusive partnership with CeraVe, a leading global skincare brand under the L’Oréal umbrella, to launch its product in the country. L’Oréal is the world leader in beauty: makeup, cosmetics, haircare and perfume in terms of quality, efficacy and safety.

Konga Health

Through Konga Health, a technology-driven healthcare solutions company focused on revolutionizing the healthcare value chain and a member of the Konga Group, this exclusive collaboration will debut with the renowned CeraVe line, offering unbeatable prices and free delivery to some locations Nationwide.

This enhanced partnership empowers Konga Health to onboard pharmacists, physicians, and other healthcare providers Nationwide to support the distribution of CeraVe’s product line. This initiative includes opportunities for recruitment, partnerships, and collaboration to ensure that high-quality skincare solutions are accessible to all nationwide.

This strategic alliance ensures that genuine CeraVe products reach Nigerian consumers swiftly and conveniently, leveraging Konga’s extensive e-commerce infrastructure. Concerns about counterfeit items that often plague the beauty and skincare market are now a thing of the past, as Konga becomes CeraVe’s official distributor in Nigeria.

CeraVe now boasts a dedicated official shop-in-shop (SIS) on Konga.com, serving as a one-stop destination for all authentic CeraVe products. Shoppers can directly access top-tier skincare solutions identical to those available globally.

Starting Monday, July 15th, CeraVe’s flagship products, such as the Cerave’s Hydrating Cleanser, Foaming Cleanser, SA Smoothing Cleanser, Fragrance-Free Moisturizer with 3 Essential Ceramides & Hyaluronic Acid, Barrier-Reinforcing Moisturizing Cream, Night Cream with Niacinamide, Exfoliating Salicylic Acid Foot Cream, Retinol Serum, Eye Repair Cream, Facial Moisturizers, Hyaluronic, and Vitamin C Serums, will be readily available on the Konga Health and Konga.com platforms, offering customers a seamless and convenient shopping experience.

Nnenna Emenyonu, Senior Vice President of Konga Health, expressed her excitement about the partnership, stating, “We are thrilled to partner with CeraVe, a brand synonymous with quality and scientific excellence in skincare. This collaboration allows our customers access to top-tier skincare products that are dermatologically tested and proven effective.”

Rabah Deroueche, LID LDB SSA and Business Development Director at L’Oreal, shared similar sentiments, noting, “Our partnership with Konga marks a significant milestone for CeraVe in Nigeria. By leveraging our commitment to quality skincare products and Konga’s platform, CeraVe can reach a wider audience and address the skincare needs of Nigerian consumers. This collaboration ensures Nigerian consumers can easily access our products and experience the benefits of our dermatologist-developed formulations.”

CeraVe has earned its stellar reputation globally through scientifically backed formulations. Developed in close collaboration with dermatologists, CeraVe products meet the highest standards of skincare and are celebrated for using essential ingredients that ensure optimal skin health.

The partnership between Konga and L’Oreal establishes Konga’s standing as a trusted e-commerce platform offering only high-quality products. As the official distributor of CeraVe, Konga is dedicated to maintaining the brand’s integrity by providing shoppers with authentic products that meet their skincare needs.


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TD Africa Partners CISCO on Tech-Skills Development in Africa

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In its continuous drive to bridge the widening skills gap in Africa’s technology sector, TD Africa, Africa’s largest technology distribution company, has partnered with Cisco on its month-long inaugural training program.

TD-CISCO

The program, the first of its kind in the TD Academy training series, was aimed at empowering young minds with technical skills and professional exposure.

The initiative, titled “Introduction to Cisco Networking Solutions and Workplace Professional Skills,” exemplifies TD Africa’s comprehensive and futuristic approach to technology education and professional development, empowering individuals and businesses to thrive in the digital age.

This innovative series of pooled training aims to equip the participants with the foundational knowledge of Cisco networking solutions, which is critical for building and managing robust IT infrastructure and workplace professional skills, recognizing the importance of soft skills in today’s dynamic work environment.

This combined focus on technical competence and professional development aligns with TD Africa’s robust approach towards impacting appropriate skills set into young people.

Cisco’s extensive portfolio for this first leg of TD Academy encompasses carefully curated programs in cybersecurity, data analysis, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to address the most sought-after skills in the African technology market.

For Mrs. Chioma Ekeh, CEO of TD Africa, the company’s dedication to bridging the skills gap is not a one-off training program nor limited to knowledge transfer.

Her words: “We understand the critical need for a skilled workforce to propel Africa’s digital transformation. Through our collaborative training programs with industry leaders like Cisco, we are committed to equipping individuals with the right tools and knowledge to succeed in this exciting field.”

Amblessed Ubong, one of the beneficiaries of the training program, said, “I recently completed a four-week training at the TD Academy; it was enriching and transformative.

“The sessions were thought-provoking, the trainers were passionate, and the environment was highly supportive. Collaborative projects enhanced my teamwork skills and made learning enjoyable.

“I left the TD Academy with a wealth of knowledge and a renewed enthusiasm for my career.”

Impressed by the exceptional talent emerging from the program, Africa’s number one tech distribution company immediately recruited some of the top graduates who participated in the training program.

This commitment to recognizing and nurturing talent further strengthens the technology ecosystem in Africa, creating a pipeline of skilled professionals for the future.

By empowering individuals and businesses with the necessary skills and knowledge, TD Africa is further stamping its foot in the sand of time, playing a pivotal role in Africa’s digital renaissance.


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