Phishing kits fuel online fraud

Web fraud is becoming mainstream, experts warn, thanks to tools that make creating phishing sites easy

The number of phishing Web sites grew by about 65 percent in December, which security experts say is due to the increasing use of easy-to-use "phishing kits".

The Anti-Phishing Working Group's report for December revealed that although the number of phishing emails fell between November and December last year, the number of fraudulent Web sites increased from 4,630 to 7,197, which is a record.

Security companies say the increasing number of phishing Web sites can be attributed to the easy availability of phishing kits, tools that can be used by relatively non-technical people to create and manage multiple phishing sites.

According to Internet security company Websense, one of the most popular phishing kits is called Rock Phish Kit, which the company said was first seen last November.

Joel Camissar, country manager for Australia and New Zealand at Websense, told ZDNet UK sister site Australia that the situation is similar to what happened when virus-making kits started appearing a few years ago.

"The commercialisation of these phishing tools is what we saw in the antivirus industry... when toolkits to create mass-mailing worms started becoming increasingly popular. We are seeing the same parallel in the phishing world, whereby these techniques are becoming mainstream," Camissar said.

Munir Kotadia reported from Sydney for ZDNet Australia. For more ZDNet Australia stories, click here.