Sep 25, 2008
India - Social networking sites are new phishing targets
Eighty per cent of the e-mails is spam or phishing, a fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by showing as an original website, most often of banks and financial institutions.The Indian banks face a six-fold increase in phishing attacks largely due to the new phishing technologies, observed Symantec Software India Private Limited vice-president (Indian product operations) Shantanu Ghosh.Spam and phishing are now a matured underground economy with specialised production and provisioning, outsourcing, multi-variate pricing and flexible models. The terminology used is also different, he said.The web-based social networking sites are the newest targets for phishing. It is estimated that about 5 to 6 million Indians are involved in social networking and spend about 25 to 75 per cent of their time online.According to Ghosh, 51 per cent of the malicious code threats observed in India constitute a threat to confidential information. India is among the top 10 countries where spam is originated. It also ranked high on the global virus and worm prevalence charts, Ghosh pointed out.The phishers and spammers are adapting to security measures and relocating to countries with less developed infrastructures. They are also adopting new tactics rapidly and often, he said that spammers in India have used over 75 techniques and variants to deceive the end users last year.Also the intent (of malicious activity) seems to be to cause loss or benefit from the end user and not just targeting the computers.Two of every three email messages received by today's business is spam and the loss in productivity due to the time spent on identifying and deleting spam is put at $ 712 (about Rs 32,000) per employee.