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US Senate Persists with More Legislation to Make Phishing Illegal

Phishing in which an attacker poses as a financial organization, commonly a bank to steal users' personal information online, is an offensive practice that robs vast numbers of people worldwide of their money each year. Although it is already an illegal activity, and those practicing it can also be criminally prosecuted, yet the US Senate has not stopped from implementing new laws. However, broadly, these new laws don't appear to offer anything new beyond the already existing ones.

In the end week of February 2008, Bill Nelson, Democratic Senator from Fla., and Ted Stevens from Alaska and Olympia Snowe from Washington, both Republican Senators, presented a bill called the Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act (APCPA). CNETNews reported this on February 26, 2008. The bill discusses 31 pages of fresh regulations potentially raising the expense of doing entrepreneurial activity on behalf of legitimate organizations, but will hardly do anything to prevent the malicious contents supporting the phishing attacks.

Ted Stevens, Vice Chairman of the Republican Senate, said that phishing through its fraudulent practice victimizes millions of US citizens and extorts from them approximately $3 Billion every year. Media Newswire published Stevens' statement on February 26, 2008. Stevens further said that phishers are increasingly targeting Alaskans and making efforts to capture their bank account details. The new legislation empowers the federal and state governments to impose on these criminals, significant imprisonment and fines, Stevens said.

Most phishing scams arrive via e-mail where the innocent recipient gets a message in the name of a credit card company, a bank, or a legitimate organization offering a reason for the user to submit his account details. Obviously, rather than help protect the users' money, these e-mails persuade the recipients to disclose information, which could then be exploited to access their financial accounts and pull out money from them.

In the US, seven states have already implemented anti-phishing laws, and the Department of Justice (DoJ) has succeeded to obtain legal proof against a criminal who posed as a representative from AOL's billing center.

Additionally, the CADNA (Coalition against Domain Name Abuse), which is a group of ten internationally recognized branded organizations, strongly backs the APCPA.

Related article: US Passes Baton to Asia in Spam Relay

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