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August 26, 2009

Drop in phishing signals new threats

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by Alan Harten

According to a report from IBM Corp issued on Wednesday, internet criminals are not using phishing emails as frequently any more in order to commit internet crimes and steal personal details.

In fact, according to the report which includes all the scamming activity from the first part of the year, phishing only made up 0.1% of all of the spam which occurred during the beginning of 2009.

During the first half of the year in 2008, phishing emails made up somewhere between .2% and .8% of all spam.

It is not yet clear what the decline means, although some analysts simply state that scammers are using more sophisticated ways to steal information now making phishing obsolete.

One thing is clear however, this is not a statistical illusion due to a rise in other types of spam, as IBM also reported that spam in general has not expanded in volume.

Director of the X-Force research team at IBM, Kris Lamb, warned however that while he would say that there has been a large decline in phishing span, it would be foolish to state that it is no longer a threat.

Lamb thinks that the reason that phishing has declined is due to the fact that computer users are better at figuring out fake websites, leading criminals to look for more malicious software attacks.

The director of Symantec Corp’s global intelligence network, Dean Turner, also stated that the company had noticed there was less phishing in the beginning of 2009 but warned that phishing scams usually peak around the holiday times.

The IBM report also pointed out that the highest increase in internet crime was in malware Trojans which increased by 9% from last year, up to 55% of all new malware to be identified by the research group.

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