Banks primary target of phishing

Financial institutions had better bump up network security measures, as they are the most targeted sector for phishing attacks, according to the March 2005 phishing activity trend report, conducted by Websense Security Labs.

  • E-Mail
By  Jane Plunkett Published  May 11, 2005

Financial institutions had better bump up network security measures, as they are the most targeted sector for phishing attacks, according to the March 2005 phishing activity trend report, conducted by Websense Security Labs. The spoof e-mails designed to lure recipients to fraudulent Web sites, have had a huge impact on the banking sector, with the report stating that banks accounted for a whooping 81% of all hijacked brands in March. Brands are companies or enterprises, which are reported to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) when they become phishing targets. In March nine out of twelve new brands hijacked by phishing campaigns, fell under the financial institution category, the report revealed. This brings the total to 161 brands that have reportedly been hijacked since the APWG began examining and reporting phishing trends in November 2003. By hijacking the trusted brands of well-known banks, online retailers and credit card companies, data suggests that phishers are able to convince recipients to respond to them. As a result of these scams, an increasing number of consumers are suffering credit card fraud, identity theft and financial loss. Researchers working on the March phishing trends report noticed a dramatic rise in schemes involving malicious programmes known as keyloggers. This malicious code records the keystrokes of people using infected machines, it then steals login names and passwords for online bank accounts and sends the information to the attackers. November 2004 through to December 2004 saw approximately 2 new phishing keylogger variants and around 15 new malicious Web sites hosting this code per week. In comparison, from February 2005 through March 2005, the report identified approximately 10 new keyloggers and more than 100 malicious Web sites per week, which are playing host to keglogger variants. According to the report, network users should be wary of phishing attacks from the following sources, as they host the most common forms of attack. Care should be taken when opening Web sites that host adult and shopping content, as these Web sites exploit Internet Explorer (IE) vulnerabilities to run code remotely without user interaction. Instant Messenger (IM) messages that include attachments frequently entice users to run the code. Users should exercise caution when opening incoming e-mails that have attachments, as well as incoming e-mails that lure users to visit a remote Web site, as malicious code is often hosted on that Web site or in the attachment. Also blasts of e-mails that encourage users to visit a remote Web site, often attempt to use an IE vulnerability to download and run code without user interaction. Further findings in the report show that the Middle East has managed to steer clear of the top three geographic locations for hosting phishing sites. The US continues to be the top location for attacks with more than 34%. China comes in second with 12% and Korea follows at 9% Websense Security Labs claim.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code