Phishing Web sites grew by 33 percent in November

The number of phishing Web sites associated with online identity theft scams grew by 33 percent in November, after dropping off in September and early October, according to data compiled by the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG).

The group received reports of 1,518 active phishing sites during November, up from 1,142 in October. Reports of phishing Web sites have grown by an average rate of 28 percent monthly since July, as scam artists broadened their efforts to lure customers of companies that do business online, according to Peter Cassidy, secretary general of the APWG. The APWG is an industry group of representatives from law enforcement and private sector companies, including leading Internet service providers, banks and technology vendors.

Phishing scams are online crimes that use spam to direct Internet users to Web sites that are controlled by thieves, but designed to look like legitimate e-commerce sites. Users are asked to provide sensitive information such as a password, bank account information or a credit card number, often under the guise of updating an account.

Customers of 51 online brands were targeted by phishing scams in November, compared with 44 brands in October, Cassidy said. However, just six companies drew more than 80 percent of all phishing scams, he said.

The APWG no longer identifies the organizations that were the most popular targets of phishing scams, citing resistance from the group's industry members, he said. However, eBay and Citibank were phishers' top targets in past months, according to previous APWG reports.

The creation of phishing Web sites in October and November resumed the torrid pace it reached in mid-August, after dropping off for much of September.

Phishing attacks have emerged as a potent threat in 2004. More than 18 million e-mail messages linked to the attacks have been stopped this year by e-mail security provider MessageLabs.

Industry groups, including the APWG, responded by calling attention to new attacks and working to shut down Web sites used in the scams to harvest personal information from unsuspecting Internet users.

Recently, leading US companies and law enforcement agencies unveiled a new antiphishing initiative. Digital PhishNet brings together companies such as Microsoft, America Online and VeriSign with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Postal Inspection Service to improve coordination when identifying and shutting down phishing sites.

As in past months, the U.S. was again the most frequent host of fraudulent Web pages used in the attacks, Cassidy said.

While phishing attacks may spike during November and December, which are busy shopping months in the European Union and the U.S., the increasing number of antiphishing tools and initiatives will hopefully bring the number of attacks down in 2005, according to Neil Creighton, chief executive officer of GeoTrust Inc., a provider of online digital certificates.

Like other companies, including US Internet service provider Earthlink and eBay, GeoTrust distributes a free Web browser plugin that warns users when they visit phishing Web sites. Such utilities, coupled with the efforts of groups like the APWG and Digital PhishNet, will make life harder for online scam artists, and prompt consumers and merchants to become more aware about online identity verification, Creighton said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Roberts

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?