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Tax season is phishing season

Cybercriminals are preying on unsuspecting taxpayers through a range of sophisticated phishing techniques, writes BRIAN PINNOCK, cybersecurity expert at Mimecast.

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Tax season is phishing season, and cybercriminals are preying on unsuspecting taxpayers through a range of sophisticated phishing techniques that could put their personal and financial information at risk.

According to Mimecast, 53% of South African respondents in its latest research saw an increase in phishing attacks using malicious links or attachments over the past year.

Email remains a highly attractive method of attack for cybercriminals, especially during periods – such as our current tax season – where consumers are likely to send and receive sensitive personal and financial information via email.

What’s highly concerning is that 45% of South African respondents in our latest survey reported an increase in targeted spear-phishing attacks containing malicious links or attachments. 

Spear-phishing relies on social engineering, so it is well researched, highly targeted at the receiver and is difficult for an uneducated end-user to spot.

And it’s not only individual taxpayers that are at risk: organisations with insufficient security and a lack of end-user awareness are easy targets for sophisticated attacks that could put their systems – and their data – at risk.

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