Phishing attacks ease off

Scammers appear to have slackened off bombarding people with identity theft emails
Written by Dan Ilett, Contributor

The rate at which identity theft emails hit consumers is beginning to slow, a study published on Wednesday suggested.

Research from the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) found 13,141 new phishing emails were reported to the organisation in February, an increase of just two percent compared to results from January. The number of phishing Web sites supporting these attacks only rose by 1.8 percent — from 2,578 to 2,625 — over the same period.

Phishing scams attempt to lure victims into parting with confidential information. Scammers typically send an email, purporting to be from a bank or e-commerce vendor, that links to Web sites that mimic those companies, but are actually hosted by scammers.

The group claims that the monthly growth rate of phishing attacks since July 2004 is 26 percent. However since the APWG results depend on the number of people that report phishing scams to its Web site the increase in reported scams could simply have been due to growing awareness of the APWG and its actions. It's not clear why there was such a small rise in reported phishing scams between January and February 2005.

The report also confirmed that scammers have started using a new practice called pharming — a technique that hijacks domain names and secretly redirects users to fraudulent Web sites.

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