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Symantec Report Suggests Change in Internet Crime Tactics - Phishing

July 4th 2005

Symantec Report Suggests Change in Internet Crime Tactics - Phishing

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Internet criminals have become more focused on monetary gain than malfeasance according to the cyber defense company Symantec.  In one of the most comprehensive resources of Internet threat data in the world, the Internet security firm said “Threats <are> increasingly motivated by profit and desire to perpetrate criminal acts.”

The Symantec report covered the six-month period from January 1 to June 30, 2005.  They identified new methods of using malicious code for financial gain and an increasing frequency to target desktops rather than enterprise perimeters.

"Attackers are moving away from large, multipurpose attacks on network perimeters and toward smaller, more targeted attacks directed at Web and client-side applications," said Arthur Wong, vice president of Symantec Security Response and Managed Security Services. "As the threat landscape continues to change, users need to be diligent in keeping systems up-to-date with security patches and security solutions."

Internet Security

It appears these attackers are after identities or other personal information like credit card numbers, bank passwords, Paypal account information and other data for financial gain. The report found that phishing attacks “continue to proliferate”.  These are attacks where emails are sent out prompting a user to click on a link to update their personal information with a particular company. 

The user may then click on the link arriving at a page that looks just like the financial institution or company.  They will include the logo, and may even be able to fake the URL at the top of your browser. 

Others may use a similar name to the target website or incorporate their name therein. For instance a website may have the domain name Paypal-login.com.  This might fool some of the email recipients and they may actually type their password into the password field on the web page.  This will give the criminal entry into the real Paypal account.

You may have received email from a bank you have never heard of.  They are looking for those few uninformed customers of that bank to login and pilfer.  Some sites have been able to get a users complete identity including their social security number.  This will aid in their efforts to seal the identity of the individual (i.e. identity theft). 

The culprits of these illegal acts are aided by web hosting companies like Yahoo.  In fact, according to Steve Linford at the Spam / phishing prevention company Spamhaus, Yahoo stands out from the rest.  He told Best Syndication "Other web hosts, especially the large firms, have abuse departments that react quickly when notified of spammers on their networks. It is very rare for example for a bank phishing site to remain active on Verio, Godaddy, etc., as they react quickly as soon as they're notified of spam sites. The problem with Yahoo is that they react slowly, if at all, and the spammers (and in particular the phishers) therefore see Yahoo as a safe place to put such sites."


Steve went on to tell us "When Internet users complain to Yahoo, they are too often told "the spam did not originate from Yahoo so we can't do anything" ignoring the fact the spam is advertising a live bank phishing site hosted by Yahoo's web hosting service which, for every hour it is left up and running is emptying the bank accounts of thousands of people who believe it is their real bank asking for their account passwords."

According to the Semantic report “The volume of phishing messages grew from an average of 2.99 million messages a day to 5.70 million. One out of every 125 e-mail messages scanned by Symantec Brightmail AntiSpam was a phishing attempt, an increase of 100 percent from the last half of 2004. Symantec Brightmail AntiSpam antifraud filters were blocking more than 40 million phishing attempts per week on average, up from approximately 21 million per week at the beginning of January.”

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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

Anti-Spam Software

Keywords and misspellings:  spamhaus spamhause spamhouse yahoo domain domane phishing phish phisher fishing pfishing Virus fishing phishing trojan

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                     Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:39 PM