Social Network Brands Highly Abused in Phishing

MarkMonitor Inc., a specialist in services and technology for Internet brand protection, released its latest yearly Brandjacking report, according to which, phishers are using some particularly widely-used social-networking websites for attacks.

Reportedly, the company observed that during 2009, phishing attacks through the popular social networks summed 11,240, swelling 376% since 2008. Furthermore, MarkMonitor says that the total number of companies that weren't targeted previously with phishing attacks declined during 2009. Still, the volume of phishing incidences rose to an unprecedented high of 62% during 2009 over 2008. On average, there were approximately 600 phishing assaults made on each company.

Continuing further, the company reports that during 2009, phishing incidences against websites for social networking grew significantly, despite accounting for only 2% of the entire such assaults. Accordingly, during Q4 2009, there was a 464% rise in those incidences year-on-year.
Remarking about these outcomes, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for MarkMonitor, Frederick Felman, stated that people use social-networking sites to spend their time, according to a statement published by Internetretailer.com on March 15, 2010.

The CMO further said that people on social networks are not much creative or imaginative while setting their passwords. Therefore, criminals can easily unearth such users' usernames and passwords with which it can become possible to access their retailer, bank, and a host of other accounts.

Besides, Felman added that the huge repository of information regarding any person on social networks can prove valuable to criminals. For, by compromising it, they can impersonate the information's actual owner or discover the details of that person's friends.

Meanwhile, in addition to abusing the popular social-networking sites, MarkMonitor's report also states that attackers are further exploiting the social network frameworks for disseminating undesirable links to malicious content and spam.

Finally, the new report observes that the United States continued to be one of the top countries facilitating the maximum number of phishing assaults. Its contribution to phishing attacks increased from 36.5% during 2008 to 44.7% during 2009. Meanwhile, countries rising in position during 2008-09 were Germany, Korea and Canada. But, North America, whose share of phishing rose from 40.3% during 2008 to 51.2% during 2009, positioned itself at the top.

Related article: SoCal Computer Hack Traces to Watsonville

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