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The biggest source of attempts to steal personal bank details via email originates in the US, according to stats from UK anti-spam firm ClearMyMail.

ClearMyMail has compiled a rogues gallery of the top 10 countries guilty of trying to steal domestic bank account information. According to ClearMyMail, more than half of all phishing attacks originate in the US.

  1. US (54%)
  2. Spain (3.8%)
  3. Germany (2.9%)
  4. Korea (2.8%)
  5. France (2.7%)
  6. China (2.7%)
  7. Russia (2.5%)
  8. Japan (2.2%0
  9. Uruguay (1.8%)
  10. UK (1.4%)

ClearMyMail is calling on the British Government and ISPs to engage with their foreign counterparts in an attempt to curtail phishing attacks. "To some degree you can understand the lack of a cohesive campaign to prevent this happening in less well developed countries," ClearMyMail managing director Dan Field said. "But when you see that USA is top of the poll, and you take into account all the tools at their disposal for ridding the world of these criminals, I cannot help but feel disappointed that the Americans are not doing more to prevent this happening."

A separate study of phishing trends by UK security firm Sophos discovered that PayPal and eBay phishing attacks, long the staple of fraudulent emails, are on the wane. In September 2007, only 21 per cent of phishing emails purported to come from either PayPal or eBay. A year earlier, 85 per cent of these fraudulent messages posed as communiques from the two web giants.

The switch is explained by a move by cybercrooks to target a wider range of online firms, including smaller credit card unions and online retailers as well as online banks and eBay, than ever before. Efforts by eBay and PayPal to educate their customers are also making the duo less tempting targets, according to Sophos.

Phishing attacks as a whole have almost doubled in the last year according to RSA Security, which recorded 9,621 attacks in September 2007 compared to 4,377 in September 2006. It attributes the surge in activity to the notorious Rock Phish gang. ®

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