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April 20th, 2008

Phishing Attacks Doubled In UK

Phishing attacks on consumers from UK have more than doubled for the first quarter of this year, according to Apacs, the UK payment association. The number of recorded phishing incidents for the first quarter of 2007 was 3,394, an increase from 2,369 in the first quarter of 2006.

Apacs recorded more than 10,000 reported phishing incidents in the first quarter of 2008, more than 200 percent up from the same period last year. An evidence shows that users are becoming somewhat more sophisticated with regard to phishing attacks: the proportion of phishing targets either deleting phishing messages or taking no action over them increased from 75 percent in 2006 to 82 percent last year.

Online banking losses due to fraud have decreased by one-third from £33.5m in 2006 to £22.6m in 2007, Apacs said, but efforts to defraud users have climbed steadily. Although online banking fraud losses fell last year, the fraudsters clearly aren’t giving up. Phishing scams are continuing to rise and they are becoming ever more sophisticated.

The dramatic rise in phishing figures could also be due to increased awareness on the part of users. Apacs found that 93 percent of users now have anti-virus software installed, but this figure falls to 71 percent for anti-spyware software.

It has noted a significant spike in consumer concerns over phishing in recent months – which is another indication that, at least, users are growing more aware of the problem.

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