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BizReport : Email Marketing : September 06, 2006

Phishing Attacks Rise as Major Virus Attacks Fall

A rise in phishing attacks first observed in 2005, continued last month and accounted for one-third of virus and Trojan activity.

by William White

According to UK based net security firm MessageLabs, online criminals targeted weaknesses found in instant messaging and social networks as well as ecommerce sites.

MessageLabs said phishing attacks now account for 30.7 percent of all malicious emails. It revealed that rather than sticking to the old favorites, phishers are spreading their wings wider and launching attacks on users of the social networking site MySpace.

The security firm found that Trojan attacks were routinely launched on the MS06-040 vulnerability in Windows Server Services. And it draws attention to a Russian spammer who was able to crash his way through un-patched servers using the infamous Pro Mailer DMS spam software and its advanced ‘spam cannon’ technique.

The Danish controlled security firm SoftScan also reports a rise in phishing related attacks last month. However, it attributes the increase the final figures to improved detection techniques in anti-virus scanners.

Generally, in August, it seems large scale virus attacks were in decline when on average, one in 98.4 emails contained viruses as against one in 96.6 in July.

Meantime the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) reports that in June it identified 9,255 phishing sites covering 130 brands. It says the sites remained live for an average 4.8 days before somebody pulled the plug. The June figures are the latest available.

Tags: MySpace, phishing, virus

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