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Phishing URLs Rose to Unprecedented Level in April-June 09

Security researchers at San Francisco-based 'MarkMonitor', a firm which traces origins of domain-name exploitation, report that the total number of phishing assaults climbed to an unprecedented level during April-June 2009, exceeding the earlier peaks recorded during Q1-2007, as reported by Theregister on September 28, 2009.

The researchers also stated that reputed organizations in the financial and payment services sectors were still the most preferred attack points for phishers whose fraudulent e-mails sought to dupe recipients into surrendering their personal login details. Both the sectors received 80% of the total phishing attacks during Q2-2009. In other instances, the attacks tried to grab users' login credentials when they visit social-networking sites nearly got doubled from Q2-2008 to Q2-2009, a rise of 168% in the twelve month time period.

Moreover, MarkMonitor's discoveries have arrive soon after Symantec and IBM, two other leading firms of Internet security announced that phishers' attacks were declining.

The firm estimated that over 150,000 phishing attacks were launched during Q2-2009, with the attacks using unique 'uniform resource locators' (URLs) to host phishing websites. Actually, to execute a phishing attack, cyber criminals set up an Internet site which resembles a legitimate one and dupes people so that they willingly give away their financial and other personal information.

Charlie Abraham, Vice-President of MarkMonitor for EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), said that to know probable phishing websites, MarkMonitor contacted e-mail companies like AOL and Yahoo that forwarded dubious-appearing URLs arriving in e-mails, as reported by Pcworld on September 28, 2009.

Abraham further stated that his firm kept track of the total number of distinct URLs, which could potentially increase the total number of 'attacks,' as per certain classification by MarkMonitor, in dramatic proportions. For instance, crooks frequently used only one host-name/website although the site was hosted on a number of differently-located servers and regularly switched servers at short intervals, a technique called 'fast flux.'

Finally, Felman, Chief Marketing Officer of MarkMonitor, stated that although some security companies suggested the phishing problem had lessened, MarkMonitor found, the problem still inflicted its customers and was escalating, as reported by Scmagazine on September 28, 2009.

Related article: Phishing With A Redirector Code

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