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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
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

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?