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Supermarkets next in line for phishing attacks

Police warn retailers over mounting risk

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Online retailers are likely to become the next target of 'phishing' scams, UK police warned last weekend. Scam emails that form the basis of phishing attacks attempt to trick users into handing over their account details and passwords. First seen in the UK approximately 18 months ago, phishing emails are becoming increasingly sophisticated, directing users to bogus websites which accurately reproduce the look and feel of legitimate sites.

Up till now online banking websites or auction sites such as eBay have been the main target but the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit warns online retailers that they need to be on their guard, the Mail on Sunday reports. Tony Neate, the unit's industry liaison officer, said: "We have warned all the big retailers that we consider them to be the next targets and are helping them to secure their sites against the attacks we think are coming. We are working with the online retailers, but are also working to educate their customers and make them aware of the problems."

Online grocer Ocado and other retailers, including Tesco and Sainsbury, have been exchanging information through the Interactive Media Retailer Group in order to co-ordinate the development of anti-fraud strategies, learning from the experiences of the banking industry. Online banking fraud losses reached £12m in 2004, according to figures from banking industry association APACS released last week. The banking industry blames these losses on either straightforward phishing scams or the use of Trojans to capture security credentials through keystroke logging, a tactic which allows fraudsters to subsequently raid online banking accounts. ®

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