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Phishing Grows with Holiday Shopping Spike

Phishing Grows with Holiday Shopping Spike
December 6, 2004

The dramatic increase in online shopping this holiday season has lured more phishers out of hiding.

The number of spoofs aimed at tugging the heart strings of shoppers with sentimental reminders of gift giving has increased more than 1,000 percent, according to Proofpoint's Anti-Spam Lab.

A recent Proofpoint survey said nearly 100 new phishing attacks were discovered in November, an increase of 80 percent from October.

"The holidays are an especially dangerous period for consumers and employees, because the increased volume of legitimate commercial e-mail provides additional 'cover' for the fraudulent e-mail, making it easier to deceive people into giving away their personal information," Rami Habal, phishing expert for the Proofpoint Anti-Spam Lab, said.

Habal said because the recent wave of attacks is relatively new, most anti-spam filters and messaging security solutions are ineffective at stopping them.

He expects to see similar exponential increases in both holiday spam and holiday-themed phishing attacks through the New Year.

The lab has also reported a rise in phishing e-mails targeting the workplace.

"Some of the most insidious new attacks we're seeing involve employees being sent phishing e-mails that appear to come from their employers," said Hamal, adding that the e-mails play on social engineering, where employees aren't prepared to question something.

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