Phishing sites double in April

Number of phishing sites increased by 166 percent from March to April 2007, with non-financial brands increasingly targeted

April saw a doubling in the number of unique phishing sites, according to a report by industry association the Anti-Phishing Working Group.

The number of unique sites detected by the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) rose to 55,643 in April 2007, a massive jump from the 20,871 seen in March, according to the April Phishing Activity Trends report.

Researchers from internet fraud prevention company MarkMonitor said that the sharp increase was in part due to phishers putting large numbers of phishing site URLs on the same domain, a tactic first seen last autumn.

"We have seen cases where the phisher will put thousands of URLs on the same domain," said Laura Mather, senior scientist at MarkMonitor. "They do this to get around website blocking that Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 2 have deployed."

April 2007 saw the number of brands used to lure potential victims rise from 166 in March to 174, with more non-financial brands targeted, including social networking, VoIP, and numerous large web-based email providers, said APWG. Customers of financial institutions still get the most attention from phishers, with 92.5 percent of malicious sites directed against them.

In a separate announcement, APWG said on Wednesday that it would make a central database fully operational by July 2007 that allows organisations around the globe to share email phishing scam information.