Phishers take a break during holiday season

It seems phishers need time off just like the rest of us, with recent research showing email scams dropping off significantly during July and August

While the volume of phishing attacks on UK banks continues to grow with ever more ferocity as fire-sales and mergers unsettle banking customers, it seems those behind the scams need a holiday every now and then, just like the rest of us.

Fraud-detection company Envisional, which monitors a number of global banks, film studios and big brands, found nearly half a million separate phishing email scams were sent to bank customers over the past six months. Attacks peaked in June with 170,000 email scams sent, up 117 per cent on the same month a year ago.

However, according to a company spokesman, attacks significantly dropped off through July and August, to rise again in September. The spokesman predicted phishing levels will drop off again going into December, picking up again in the new year.

"Over the last two years there has been a family flavour to the seasonality of attacks. It's as if phishers are knocking off when the summer holidays are on. Christmas is an obvious opportunity to these fraudsters in what is essentially a B2C activity and consumers are most active at that time. Our reading is phishers prefer to take time off over Christmas," he said.

Far from viewing phishing perpetrators as normal human beings wanting to free them selves from the daily grind of swindling people out of their bank details, the Envisional spokesman takes the view that phishing is so lucrative, the people who participate in it are now blasé about when they need to work.

He said: "These people are self-indulgent. They don't have the desperation to make money you might imagine. They are confident they can take themselves on holiday and get back to their ugly business when they return."

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