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Phishing Incidents in India Grow By 180%

Internet surfers may well be wary of the rise in fake links to websites that could draw the details of their bank accounts. According to government statistics, Indians encountered 215 more incidents of scamming in 2006 compared to 2005, making a 180% increase in such cases in the country.

The CERT-In (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) has reported 335-targeted websites during 2006. Of these 256 belonged to thee-com segment that involves online retailing such as eBay. Some of targeted banks providing online banking services included State Bank of India, JM Morgan Chase, and UTI Bank. In addition, hackers defaced 5,200 websites during 2006.

Fraudsters are using phishing e-mails as the latest weapon to attack users' bank accounts. While phishing, hackers send e-mails containing spurious links to fake sites appearing like a reputed firm's website. Criminals send such e-mails hoping someone to respond to it and reveal personal info like passwords & credit card numbers.

In January 2007, a phishing attack preyed on UTI Bank. The Delhi police arrested four Nigerian nationals involved in it and an Indian citizen for robbing 30 customers off Rs20 lakhs.

Though phishing attacks on large local banks in India increased like SBI, UTI and ICICI Bank, one govt. official divulged smaller financial firms' customers were main targets of attack during the end of 2006.

As big companies take more precautions, scammers are turning towards insufficiently protected smaller financial firms, for example credit unions, said the official in The Economic Times. ICICI Bank's 'Safe Banking Initiative' is an example of such precautions. The program educates customers about the methods of protecting them from fraud. For that it uses hoardings, alerts on their Internet banking site, on monthly statements & around the premises.

The govt. has also recorded a consistent rise in phishing cases in the last six months of 2006. There were about 30 incidents every month during July to October. The total cyber crimes during the year comprised of 62% phishing cases (compared to 25% in 2005), 32% of network scanning (against 30%) and 3% of viruses & malicious coding (against 8%).

Related article: Phishing With A Redirector Code

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