Hook, line and sinker - how to avoid getting caught Kaspersky Lab provide critical protection advice around increasing phishing attacks

By Kaspersky Lab
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01 February 2011; Recent reports from the South African Banking Risk Information Centre has expressed concern about the increase in phishing attacks, urging local consumers and banks to be extra vigilant, especially considering that the number of phishing Web sites targeting local bank clients (which have been detected and shut down by the banks) have more than trebled* in the last four months. And it's not just a local problem.

Kaspersky Lab have increasingly expressed concern regarding the constant rise in phishing attacks, also commonly known as carding or brand spoofing, year on year. In fact, the company's analysts once again recorded a high level of malicious phishing activity in December 2010, where Kaspersky Lab products blocked over 209 million network attacks in the month, prevented over 67 million attempts to infect computers via the Web, detected and neutralised over 196 million malicious programs and registered almost 71 million heuristic verdicts - frightening statistics.

David Emm, Senior Regional Researcher, UK, Global Research & Analysis Team at Kaspersky Lab says; “The real concern in this regard is that although not a new concept, phishing is either not being taken seriously enough or not fully understood, resulting in an increase in the number of victims affected by such attacks – and the effects are not good! It is therefore crucial to get to the core of phishing, by understanding the concept, how it works, what the consequences are and more importantly, learning how to effectively protect one-self against such malicious attacks.”

Phishing is a deliberate misspelling of the word 'fishing' – referring to a specific form of cyber crime, where computer users are tricked into divulging personal information such as usernames, passwords, PIN numbers, credit card numbers etc, which are linked to bank accounts or on-line shopping accounts. The steps to phishing are clear; first obtain the personal information and then the money!

“The scary aspect is that the site is so well put together, it looks incredibly authentic which results in victims falling prey to the scam! Just look at the 'tax refund mails' from the South African Revenue Service (SARS) or the request to login into a certain banking account to check details – identical to that of the organisation in questions and specifically constructed to lure users,” continues Emm.

Phishers are constantly looking for more sophisticated ways to entice users into giving up their personal information and this is evident in the number of attacks that are occurring every day. “Be cautious and wary of any email asking for personal information and don't just click on links. Only submit sensitive information via secure Web sites and when in doubt ask – it's not only a matter or security, it's also a matter of common sense and gut feel,” concludes Emm.

*Banking industry data managed by Sabric, SouthAfrica.info

About Kaspersky Lab
Kaspersky Lab is the largest antivirus company in Europe. It delivers some of the world's most immediate protection against IT security threats, including viruses, spyware, crimeware, hackers, phishing, and spam. The company is ranked among the world's top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users. Kaspersky Lab products provide superior detection rates and one of the industry's fastest outbreak response times for home users, SMBs, large enterprises and the mobile computing environment. Kaspersky® technology is also used worldwide inside the products and services of the industry's leading IT security solution providers. Learn more at www.kaspersky.com. For the latest on antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-spam and other IT security issues and trends, visit www.viruslist.com