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Consumers Increasingly Falling Prey to Phishing Attacks

According to Cyveillance, a cyber intelligence company, an increasing number of people are being victimized in phishing attacks mainly because of their increasing frequency as well as due to increasing sophistication.

Security Experts at Cyveillance's stated that these phishing assaults escalated during January- August 2008, while 95% of them targeted at credit unions and banks.

Meanwhile, Cyveillance cites some instances in its report that discusses the peak increase of phishing attacks in the past eight months of 2008. The first instance is of the financial research company, Tower Group, according to whom, losses from fraudulent online banking was $95 Million in 2007 compared to over $2 Billion losses from fraudulent credit card transactions. However, banks normally compensate for the funds stolen from its customers' accounts. But, phishing messages and malware that attempt to steal user IDs, passwords and similar sensitive information continue to increase in number.

The second example of phishing that Cyveillance reports is about Penny Slavens, a minister at Carpenter's Shop International, a non-profit company. Slavens had lost approximately $500 from her Bank of America account, following a response she made to an official looking e-mail requesting her to update her information, so that her online banking access could be restored, as reported by SFGate on August 31, 2008.

However, according to Slavens, while her private information were phished because of the legitimate appearing e-mail she answered to, the technology called SiteKey that Bank of America employs to prevent intruders access customers' accounts seems to have proved ineffective, although the bank continues to support it. Cyveillance stated that the SiteKey technology constantly lured phishers and hackers.

And echoing Cyveillance's declaration of increasing phishing scams, Avivah Litan, Vice President of Gartner, a technology-investigating firm, said that he is extremely surprised about phishing attacks gaining such a lot of success, as reported by SFGate on August 31, 2008.

According to Litan, the reported increase in the total number of phishing attacks showed that banks were not adopting good security measures, risking consumers to be effortless victims of phishers.

Related article: Consumer NZ Website Encounters Hack

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