Phishing attacks hit an all-time high following a surge in the second quarter of 2016, according to new statistics.

The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) recorded 466,065 phishing sites during the period – a figure 61 per cent higher than that observed in the final quarter of 2015.

April was the worst month of the year so far in terms of the number of phishing sites detected, with 158,988 malicious sites attempting to fool users into entering their details.

The retail and service sector remained the most-targeted industry between April and June. It was targeted by 43 per cent of all of the recorded attacks. It was followed by the financial sector, which was targeted by 16 per cent of attacks.

Users reported 315,524 unique phishing emails to the APWG over this period.

“In Q2, MarkMonitor saw the highest phishing volumes we have ever detected,” said Stefanie Ellis, anti-fraud product marketing manager at MarkMonitor.

“While some of the increase can be attributed to enhancements to our data technologies, some of the activity was tied to big campaigns that attacked service or cloud organisations.”

The report also tracked malware activity over the second quarter of 2016.

Notably, it found 18 million new malware samples over the period – a total that suggests an average of more than 200,000 were created each day.

Trojans remained the most pervasive type of malware, accounting for more than 71 per cent of all of the new malware strains detected and 67 per cent of infections.

China was the most infected country, with 49 per cent computers infected. The UK ranked 41st in the index with an infection rate of 23 per cent. Sweden was the country with the lowest rate of infection – 20 per cent of its machines were affected. The overall percentage of computers infected around the world was 29 per cecent, having dropped since the first quarter of the year.

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