Phishing: How many take the bait?
(This infographic tells the story of cyber criminals using email phishing scams to ensnare unsuspecting victims online. The images show a fleet of cyber pirates in their ships on a phishing trip.)
Using fake emails and crafty scams, phishers trawl the cyber high seas for your banking information, credit card numbers and passwords. Roughly 156 million 1 phishing emails are sent globally every day, so even if a fraction fall for the scam, phishers score big.
(A cartoon cyber pirate is shown from the chest up. He's missing a tooth, has a thick uni-brow and keeps his dark hair pulled back in a bun.)
156 Million Phishing Emails Every Day
Cyber criminals start their phishing trip by sending out millions of phishing emails.
(A fleet of pirate ships is sailing on the ocean. Their sails are painted with skull and crossbones, except the skull is actually an email icon.)
16 million make it through filters
Many phishing emails end their journey destroyed in spam filters; 10% make it through.
(The fleet of ships is shown hitting a group of rocks. Only a few ships make it through. The rocks represent email filters, and how many phishing emails get caught in them.)
8 million are opened.
Of those that make it through spam filters, half continue their journey by being opened.
(The leftover ships sink in a thunderstorm. We see the phishers leaving the storm, paddling in lifeboats, continuing their phishing trip.)
800,000 links are clicked
Of those emails that are opened, 10% lure someone into clicking on a phishing link.
(The phishers are shown casting their nets and pulling them in, filled with fish.)
80,000 fall for a scam every day and share their personal information.
And finally, another 10% of people who click the link are netted by the baited website.2 Their information results in stolen identities, financial loss, credit card frauds and other Internet scams. So in the end, these phishing emails hook about 80,000 victims. Not bad for a day's work.
(A single phisher is in the foreground, his nets filled with fish, representing the many victims that result from a single phishing trip.)
Who's taking the bait?
If you've ever clicked on one of those devious little emails, you're not alone.
- 9% of online Canadians have replied to spam mail unknowingly. 3
- 7% have replied to spoof or phishing mail unknowingly. 3
- 3% have entered bank details on a site they don't know. 3 That's over 1 million Canadians.4
Don't get phished!
- Phishing emails often look like real emails from a trusted source such as your bank or an online retailer, right down to logos and graphics.
- They may ask you to verify your account, or warn you that your account will be closed if you don't respond.
- Be wary of any email asking you to provide personal information; if you're not sure an email is legitimate, get in touch with your bank or the company to verify.
- Visit Getcybersafe.gc.ca for more tips on how to avoid phishing scams.
About these numbers
The numbers in this infographic represent an approximation of the global totals of phishing emails and subsequent victims. Though the actual totals are impossible to know for certain and will fluctuate, the trend stays the same.
- Symantec Security Technology and Response Group, August 2012
- Cyveillance, “The Cost of Phishing: Understanding the True Cost Dynamics Behind Phishing Attacks,” 2009
- EKOS Research Associates, “Baseline, Online Probability Survey of Internet Users Regarding Cyber Security,” 2011
- Based on the Statistics Canada estimate of Canada's population of about 34,880,000, July 2012
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