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Irish Bank Customers Hit with Phishing Scams

Phishing scams across the Internet have reached its peak with Irish banks are becoming close targets of fraudsters who are trying to make quick money, says a study by RSA, the firm for security software, as reported by siliconrepublic on April 24, 2008.

According to the study report, in 2008 alone, several Internet banking clients in Ireland lost their money to cyber criminals. The issue causing concern is that hardly 50% of home Internet users in the country are even aware of what 'phishing' means.

The RSA report revealed that Irish banks started to become phishing targets in March 2008.

A phishing incident with "The Bank of Ireland" in 2006 was the beginning of phishing attacks in the country. Since then, phishing scams have been continuously rising, while Netcraft already blocked over 100,000 URLs in 2006, an increase from 41,000 blockages in 2005.

RSA's study further reports that with an increase in phishing levels on the whole, AIB (Allied Irish Bank) of Ireland has already posted five different warnings on its official site for the public about such attacks. Sean Jevons, Head of E-Channel Development, AIB, confirmed that there indeed has been a spike in phishing attacks in 2008, as reported by siliconrepublic on April 24, 2008.

In the meantime, the gravest problem in Ireland involves a lack of awareness about phishing activities and the associated scams. According to a survey by iReach for the 'makeITsecure' campaign, a mere 44% of Irish Internet users said that they knew what the term means, while 7% were unsure and 34% said that they didn't know.

A further 60% of respondents said that they didn't have filtering software on their systems to protect themselves from phishing.

Jevons, while issuing a warning to Irish residents, emphasized on making the yearly 'makeITsecure' awareness campaign more forceful to tell people that phishing activities are a criminal practice.

He said that phishing scams is a part of an organized crime that encourages phishers to put any effort to produce their deceitful e-mails. Jevons also called on the organizers of the campaign to send a strong message to all users that would deter them from blindly believing bank e-mails.

Related article: IRS Cautions Taxpayers of Recent Email Scam

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