Computer Crime Research Center


Phishing once more

Date: September 30, 2004
Source: Computer Crime Research Center
By: Ludmila Goroshko

In a recent report, Gartner estimated that 57 million U.S. adults received a "phishing" attack e-mail within the past year, and half of those who responded became victims of identity theft.

Phishing is a tactic used to get credit card information from consumers who believe they are visiting legitimate bank and credit card sites. Usually accomplished through use of pop-up windows that piggyback on real sites, phishing has been on the scene for some time, but recent attacks have underscored how easily attackers can get hold of personal information .
Based on the representative sample in its April survey, Gartner believes nearly 11 million people, or 19 percent of the 57 million who received a phishing attack e-mail, clicked on a link in that e-mail. Of those, 1.78 million, or 3 percent, remember giving phishers sensitive financial or personal information, such as credit card numbers or billing addresses.

Although the report's numbers are frightening, Gartner analyst Avivah Litan, the report's author, told the E-Commerce Times that the reality is probably even worse. "I imagine that the numbers are even higher, because there are probably people who haven't even realize that they were part of an attack," Litan said.
According to Gartner, direct losses from identity-theft fraud against phishing attack victims now cost U.S. banks and credit card issuers about US$1.2 billion last year.

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