MORE than two thirds of people say they have been targeted by phishing emails, according to research by Bondgate IT.

The Darlington-based IT business is warning both businesses and individuals to be more aware of this widespread form of cyberattack after 68 per cent of respondents believe they have received phishing emails during the past six months as part of an attempt to harvest sensitive data.

The nationwide poll found 23 per cent of people reported receiving a greater number of phishing emails compared with the previous six month period - while 28.5 per cent percent were unsure.

Of those who did receive phishing emails, 41 per cent estimated they had received up to 10 during the last six months, 16 per cent believed they had received 11 to 25, nine per cent estimated they had been sent 26 to 50, while 16 per cent estimated receiving an even greater figure.

Garry Brown, managing director of Bondgate IT, said: “Sadly many victims can be completely unaware that they have been the victim of a phishing attack and don’t always appreciate the dangers of opening what might appear to be a legitimate email and clicking on what is in reality a malicious link or attachment.

“As a result, all kinds of sensitive data could be being posted for sale to criminals operating on the dark web in a matter of minutes.

“Such attacks are growing in sophistication and range from targeting individuals to gain sensitive information, such as passwords and account details, to so-called whaling – where cyber criminals target senior management of a company, often with devastating effects."