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Users Could Benefit by Being Wary of Phishers

According to Zach Jansen, Information Security Officer, CIT (Calvin Information Technology), phishing e-mails attempted to grab personal information came to the Calvin Webmail ids at least two times every week during February 2008. The e-mails hit about 300-400 accounts every time, as reported by CHIMES on March 28, 2008.

The report also says that the messages used subject lines as "Final verification of your e-mail account" and "Please protect your clavin.edu account from being closed" requested the recipient for his account username and password, date of birth and more. Also, the fraudulent e-mails tried to convince recipients that the information was required to prevent cancellation of the recipient's Webmail account or to solve problems associated with it.

People, who replied to the messages, approximately 1% would have allowed the phisher or spammer to use their accounts to spam out e-mails and that too from a reputed e-mail system.

According to Jansen, reputation significantly affects spam filters' choice of blocking e-mails. And, here the spammer was targeting Websites with high e-mail reputations so that he could deliver a greater amount of junk e-mail. Jansen also said that eventually a lot of spam was sent from Calvin's e-mail system as a result the company end up acquiring a bad name and may even get blacklisted, as reported by CHIMES on March 28, 2008.

Meanwhile, in other reports, attacks of a similar kind have been launched via e-mails posing to appear from UdelWebmail Care. The title line in those e-mails reads, "Please Protect Your UDEL Webmail Account from Being Closed."

Hence, in the prevailing situation of increasing phishing assaults, the FTC warns that people are becoming victims of phishers' attacks and could allow their identifying information stolen. The commission, therefore, offers suggestions on how this can be avoided at www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/index.html. It also recommends users to register with the XML feed of any of the e-newsletters on computer security to stay up-to-date with news and warnings on the subject. The e-newsletters are available on UD's page at www.udel.edu/security/secnews.html.

Security experts warn that phishers seek to gain substantially from others' personal information such as credit card or bank account numbers by reaping monetary benefits.

Related article: Users Making Opening Online Accounts To Identify Thefts

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