Phishing drops, spammers look for alternatives

Phishing drops, spammers look for alternatives

By SiliconIndia   |   Wednesday, 26 August 2009, 10:43 Hrs
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Bangalore: IBM has released a report which shows that the number of phishing emails have gone down. Phishing mails are sent by fraud artist who replicate a real email from a bank or some other business and then send it to customers. The recipient thinks that it is a mail sent by his bank and ends up revealing critical information like password and account number. Even though there is a decline experts feels that phishing is still alive and just subdued. "That is a huge, precipitous decline in the amount of phishing. I wouldn't tell anybody that phishing has died as a threat," said Kris Lamb, Director of the X-Force research team in IBM's Internet Security Systems division

Last year in the first six months phishing made up 0.2 percent to 0.8 percent of all spam. IBM midyear security report found that phishing accounted for just 0.1 percent of all spam for the same period this year. Researchers are not sure what to make of the decline in phishing as there has not been an increase in any other type of spam. It is also possible that criminals are moving on from phishing to another kind of attack, involving malicious software. IBM said it is seeing more instances of Trojan horse programs, which are used to spy on victims and are even capable of crashing victim's computer.

Lamb believes phishing might have fallen off because computer users are getting smarter about identifying phony Web sites. Also there is more awareness amongst netizens about malware and phishing mails. Security software is also getting better at filtering out phishing sites before Web surfers ever seen them. IBM also found that criminals are changing the types of businesses they attack with phishing. Earlier banks were an easy target for phishing but now even they use extra precaution and keep informing their customer about such malicious mails. According to IBM 66 percent of phishing targets were banks this year as compared to 90 percent last year. Companies like Paypal which handles online payment is getting harassed now with phishing mails.

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