Phishing Attacks Skyrocket in 2004


According to the annual report from security firm MessageLabs, the incidence of phishing attacks has risen exponentially over the past year, posing a serious risk for businesses or individuals who conduct business online. According to MessageLabs, which tracks and monitors e-mail, phishing messages in January 2004 numbered 337,050, but in November they totaled 4.5 million. As recently as September 2003, MessageLabs identified fewer than 300 phishing messages in a month.Phishing scams have also become increasingly sophisticated, according to the MessageLabs report, preying on the trust of computer users and fooling some into acting as money launderers. The report noted that some scams are able to access online banking information even when users do not click on any links. Meanwhile, according to the report, the number of e-mail messages that include a virus rose to 1 in 16, up from 1 in 33 last year, and spam now accounts for 73 percent of all e-mail.

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