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Phishing fraud hits two year high

Rumours of the death of email scams wildly exaggerated

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Phishing attacks reached a record high during the second quarter of 2009, with 151,000 unique attacks, according to a study by brand reputation firm MarkMonitor.

Brands in the financial and payment services sectors continue to be the favourite targets for fraudulent emails that attempt to trick users into handing over their login credentials. They were the subject of four in five (80 per cent) of all phish attacks in Q2 2009. Elsewhere, attacks targeting the login credentials of social networking websites more than doubled between Q2 2008 and Q2 2009, increasing 168 per cent over the course of 12 months.

An analysis of the millions of URLs in fraudulent emails by MarkMonitor identified a shift in the phishing techniques used by fraudsters, with 351 attacks per organisation, on average, in Q2 2009. The US hosted half (50 per cent) of the sites associated with phishing attacks during Q2 2009.

MarkMonitor reckons phishing attacks are at a two-year high, contrary to some reports that suggest fraudulent email attacks are on the decline. ®

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