October 14, 2008, 5:35 AM — The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) is the global pan-industrial and law enforcement association focused on eliminating the fraud and identity theft that result from phishing, pharming and email spoofing of all types.
In the first quarter of 2008 the APWG published an excellent â€œPhishing Activity Trends Reportâ€œ. It provides detailed statistics that cover various aspects of how phishing activities are exponentially on the upswing. The report starts out by giving very concrete definition of phishing being a criminal mechanism employing both social engineering and technical subterfuge to steal consumersâ€™ personal identity data and financial account credentials. Social-engineering schemes use spoofed e-mails purporting to be from legitimate businesses and agencies to lead consumers to counterfeit websites designed to trick recipients into divulging financial data such as user names and passwords.
Some overview topics covered in the APWG report include:
Countries Hosting Phishing Sites
The United States remains is the top country hosting phishing sites due to a large majority of attacks being targeted toward United States-based companies. Russia remained in the top four of all countries throughout the period. There was an interesting drop for China in the last month, when they only rendered 3% of top countries hosting websites.
Most Targeted Industry Sectors
Financial Services continues to be the most targeted industry sector during the first quarter of 2008. This is consistent with results since the APWG began tracking targeted industry sectors. The up tick of Government as a target in March reflects a rise in IRS-related phishing attacks or similar scams â€“ by phishing and other media â€“ related to the IRS-administered 2008 Economic Stimulus Refund program. Read the rest of this article