Feeds

Cybercrooks ramp up recession-themed scams

DoJ Untouchables plan crackdown

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Cybercrooks have adapted to the global economic crisis with scams based on topical subjects such as refinancing or unemployment in a bid to reel in vulnerable marks.

A survey by brand protection firm MarkMonitor on four leading financial brands reveals that fraudsters are targeting vulnerable individuals looking for ways to keep their head above water during tough times economically. "Scammers are preying upon consumer hardship, demonstrating incredible creativity in combining technology, social engineering techniques and current events," said Frederick Felman, chief marketing officer at MarkMonitor.

As part of its Brandjacking Index exercise, MarkMonitor sifted through 134 million public domain records, countless web pages and billions of spam email messages searching for scams focusing on terms such as foreclosure, mortgage, refinance and unemployed.

It found numerous example of phishing and suspected domain squatting. More than 7,300 cybersquatted domains were located, 16 per cent of which were established after September 2008. Crooks registered domains that incorporated the name of the four targeted brands with "credit crunch relief" terms at the rate of more than one domain per day between September 2008 and April 2009, MarkMonitor reports.

Phishing attacks against the same four financial brands hit 10,000 during Q1 2009, a 36 per cent increase from the previous quarter.

Looking at phishing fraud more generally, MarkMonitor found that 93 organisations were phished for the first time in Q1 2009. Four in five (82 per cent) were financial brands.

Payment service providers, more even than banks and financial services firms, bore the brunt of scam email attacks, featuring in 42 per cent of scam emails. Attacks on social media websites trebled, albeit from a previously miniscule base.

In related news, US consumer watchdog the Federal Trade Commission is due to launch a campaign targeting recession-themed scams. Operation Short Change - more details on which are expected to emerge at a launch event on Wednesday - will also bring the Department of Justice on board in a law enforcement sweep "cracking down on frauds fueled by the economic downturn". ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.