FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Monday, December 06, 2004

Gone Phishing in 2004

As we approach the year's end, we inevitably begin to reminisce on "the year that was." In technology, one unfortunate word that entered our vocabulary was "phishing."

Accordign to C|Net, phishing scams increased tenfold in 2004, from a reported 337,000 in January to 4.5 million in November. Security experts are beginning to detect new patterns and more sophisticated approaches in phishing scams, and speculate that some companies could become the victims of phish-driven blackmail and extortion schemes.

Other depressing statistics cited by security firm MessageLabs, which released the phishing statistics, include:

  • One in 16 e-mails now contains some type of virus
  • Nearly three-quarters of all e-mail is spam
  • Denial-of-service attacks against commerical websites continue to increase, with gambling websites being among the most vulnerable
Phishing, of course, is a technique of scamming Internet users by sending them phony e-mails asking for bank account numbers and other confidential information. To the untrained eye, the e-mails appear to be sent from legitimate financial institutions.