• United States



by Dave Gradijan

Phishing Scams Increase Dramatically

Jan 16, 20072 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

McAfee has released new research exploring global identity theft trends.

The Internet security firm observes a “dramatic increase in online and computer-based identity theft.”

The number of keylogging applications (malicious software code that tracks typing activity to capture passwords and other private information) increased by 250 percent between January 2004 and May 2006, the company said. Phishing attacks climbed hundredfold in the same period.

“Identity theft is a global phenomenon that threatens all of us, which means we all need to become more aware, more vigilant and less trusting to protect ourselves,” said Jeff Green, senior vice president of McAfee Avert Labs.

In the United Kingdom, the Home Office has calculated the cost of identity theft to the British economy at US$3.2 billion during the past three years. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the annual cost for consumers and businesses in the United States alone reaches $50 billion annually.

The McAfee Avert Labs white paper concludes with practical guidelines for preventing identity theft and minimizing the risks of being victimized.

It advises users to beware of fraudulent e-mails and sites that impersonate legitimate businesses and try to trick your personal information out of you. One way is to avoid manually clicking links sent in e-mails, they advise.

Strong passwords, wariness when opening attachments, and Internet security software are all advised by the firm.

-Macworld staff