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Growth of Phishing Attacks Slows

After a huge jump in the number of unique phishing attacks from March to April, the number of attacks stayed relatively flat from April to May, according to a group studying the problem.

The Anti-Phishing Working Group, an industry association formed to combat identity theft and fraud due to phishing and e-mail spoofing, releases a report on trends each month.

Phishing refers to attacks involving spoofed e-mails and/or fraudulent Websites that are designed to fool consumers into giving away credit card numbers and other personal financial data. The messages often appear to come from banks, Internet retailers and other organizations that consumers would trust.

The number of unique phishing attacks in May was 1,197, up 6 percent from April's 1,125. By comparison, there were fewer than 400 unique phishing attacks in March, the group found. The group attributes part of the slow-down in growth to a significant drop in the last week of May that may be due to the Memorial Day holiday in the United States.

Ninety-five percent of phishing attacks use spoofed e-mail addresses. Financial services are the most likely targets. Citibank remains the company whose brand was hijacked most often by phishers, although it was the subject of fewer new phishing scams than it had been in April, the group found. Other top phishing targets are eBay, U.S. Bank and Paypal.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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