January 7, 2019 By David Bisson 2 min read

A new phone-based phishing scam reveals how fraudsters are devising more sophisticated schemes to prey on Apple device users.

According to KrebsOnSecurity, the phishing scam began for Global Cyber Risk LLC CEO Jody Westby when she received an automated call that displayed Apple’s logo, physical address, company domain and customer support phone number. The call warned Westby that unknown attackers had compromised multiple servers containing users’ Apple IDs. It then urged her to ring a 1-866 number immediately.

Suspicious of the call, Westby contacted Apple’s support number directly and requested a callback from a support representative. The agent who called back reassured Westby that Apple had not placed the original call. But when she looked at her phone, Westby observed that her iPhone had lumped together both the scam call and the official callback under Apple’s contact profile on her device. Not surprisingly, this failure of Apple’s own devices to spot a spoof call could potentially fool many users.

The Prevalence of Phishing Attacks Targeting Apple Users

This phony call scam stands out for its extensive use of Apple branding. But by no means is it the only phone-related phishing scam targeting Apple users in recent history. For example, in July 2018, Ars Technica identified an India-based tech support scam using a fake Apple website that popped up a system dialog box with a prompt to call the fraudsters.

These phishing instances come after enterprise mobile security and data management provider Wandera found in 2017 that nearly two-thirds of mobile phishing attacks occur on iOS devices. This rate means that Apple users are twice as likely to experience phishing on their devices than Android users.

Help Your Employees Defend Against Phishing Scams

Security professionals can help employees defend against phishing scams by creating a security awareness training program that uses clear, concise policies based around business requirements. Organizations should also take a layered approach to email security — requiring a mix of both technology and education — to better defend against email-borne phishing campaigns.

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