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iPhone-wielding chumps rush to give data to phish sites

BlackBerry, desktop users less easily phooled

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Mobile users are three times more likely to respond to phishing scams than their PC-using counterparts, according to stats prised from fraudulent websites.

An analysis of logs from several phishing websites by transaction security firm Trusteer revealed that not only were they among the first visitors to arrive at a phishing website (an important factor since most scam websites are short-lived), but they were three times more likely to submit their login credentials than desktop PC users.

Trusteer also found that eight times more iPhone users than BlackBerry users visited dodgy websites.

Mobile users are "always online" and therefore more likely to read and respond to email messages soon after they arrive. Most fraudulent emails that form the basis of phishing scams pose as messages from a bank's security team or similar so its therefore no great surprise that anyone taken in by this ruse would act quickly. This rapid response is a huge benefit to scammers since their sites are typically either taken down or blocked by phasing filters within a matter of hours.

Users of mobile phone who arrive at dodgy websites are far more likely to submit their login credentials than their desktop counterparts because it's harder to spot a phishing website on a mobile device than on a computer, according to Trusteer.

This difference is particularly marked on iPhones, which display only the beginning of the URL of a potentially fraudulent site. BlackBerries, by comparison, display the full URL as well as asking if a user wants to visit a site. However, Trusteer concludes it is equally difficult to spot phishing websites on BlackBerry and iPhone devices.

BlackBerries are as commonly used in the US, for example, as iPhones; but BlackBerries are more commonly issued by corporates and by business users, who are perhaps more likely to be savvy about the general possibility of phishing threats. More importantly, perhaps, they are more likely to be protected by corporate spam filters so that scam emails never reach their inbox.

More details of Trusteer's analysis can be found in a blog post here. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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