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Online Fraud against Irish Computer will Escalate in 2008

The Microsoft Security Intelligence forecasts that during 2008, Ireland will face a large number of Instant Messaging (IM) and e-mail-related fraud along with electronic greeting card scams, as reported by Siliconrepublic on February 8, 2008.

In 2007, there had been a massive 166,522 malware attacks during the first half of the year on computers of Irish users, which was 44% more than that of 2006.

One area of online threat that has grown to maximum proportion in Ireland involves e-greeting card fraud, which already comprises of nearly one in every twelve infected e-mails. These threats consist of online cards delivered via e-mail with subject line typically saying, "You've got a greeting from your family member." When the recipient clicks on it, some malicious program gets installed on his system.

Also, scammers in Ireland use plenty of sources that make e-mails look as if they have come from credible sources. And since people always get attracted to freebies, such as inexpensive medications, users can be tricked to click such malicious messages.

Another area on the Internet where Irish people will witness an increase in attacks, according to Microsoft researchers, would be use of social engineering tactics, in which people would be manipulated into divulging their confidential information. Such techniques involve e-mail messages that ask consumers to confirm their tax refunds or credit cards over phone. But the given phone number is actually a computerized answering machine that gathers information from caller to use it for malicious purposes.

Business and Marketing Operations Director of Microsoft in Ireland, Maurice Martin, said that criminals keep experimenting with new methods to access money or information from consumers. ENN published Martin's statement on February 8, 2008. Martin further added that electronic greeting cards, phishing e-mails, and telephone scams would be the three major threats in 2008, as reported by ENN.

Moreover, according to Microsoft, the increase in IM and e-mail fraud cases around the world has been 37% and 27% respectively during the first six months of 2007 and this is expected to grow even more in 2008 as well.

Researchers at Microsoft have suggested that home users should turn on their firewall and use anti-spyware and antivirus software and keep updating their software regularly.

Related article: Online Card Fraud Shows Greater Tendency Than Chip and Pin

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