Tenfold increase in "phishing" fraud attacks
A new study has claimed that the number of attacks on bank customers by malicious hackers has jumped markedly over the past year, with "phishing" atta
15:59 07 December 2004
A new study has claimed that the number of attacks on bank customers by malicious hackers has jumped markedly over the past year, with "phishing" attacks rising by a factor of ten.
MessageLabs has revealed that in 2004 alone, it detected more than 18 million phishing email messages.
Phishing is an online fraud method, where scammers send out emails purportedly from a bank, asking customers to follow a link and re-enter their details.
The link takes customers to a dummy website, made up to look like the official one, where customers' details are recorded and can be used by fraudsters to take money out of bank accounts.
Last month both NatWest and Halifax customers were targeted by phishing attacks.
One such message read: "Technical services of the bank [Halifax] are carrying out a planned software upgrade for the maximum convenience of the users of online services of the Halifax Bank. We earnestly ask you to visit the following link and confirm your bank data."
A warning at the bottom of the email added that the re-posting of data was obligatory for all bank customers.
Halifax confirmed that the email was sent by fraudsters and said that action was being taken by the bank in response.
"We always trace the ISP [internet service provider] and ultimately the individual behind such schemes," a spokesman explained.
Halifax added that it was confident that no customers lost out financially as a result of the scam due to actions the bank had already taken.