Phishing Attacks Increase Fourfold

    Date26 Dec 2003
    3497
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    E-mail phishing attacks jumped over 400 percent during the holidays, according to an analysis released Wednesday of scams reported to clearinghouse Anti-Phishing.org. Phishing, the term used to describe malignant e-mail posing as legitimate messages from banks, retailers, and credit card companies, soared in November and December as scammers took advantage of the holiday rush to try to trick users into divulging personal and financial information.. . . E-mail phishing attacks jumped over 400 percent during the holidays, according to an analysis released Wednesday of scams reported to clearinghouse Anti-Phishing.org. Phishing, the term used to describe malignant e-mail posing as legitimate messages from banks, retailers, and credit card companies, soared in November and December as scammers took advantage of the holiday rush to try to trick users into divulging personal and financial information.

    In the past two weeks alone, an estimated 60 million phishing e-mails have been sent to users, said Tumbleweed Communications, an anti-spam and secure messaging vendor that compiled the numbers from Anti-Phishing.org. Because the phishing messages often look remarkably official, down to logos and professionally-designed forms for entering credit card information, an average of 5 percent of those who receive them respond.

    Among the holiday-themed phishing attacks recently spotted by Anti-Fishing.org is a spoofed e-mail purporting to be from America Online. Users are told that an electronic greeting card is waiting for pickup, but before it can be retrieved, the user is asked to log into his or her AOL account. That information is, however, transmitted to the scammer, who then has access to the account.

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