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18 December 2007, 14:07

3.6 million US citizens fall victim to phishing attacks

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According to a survey conducted by market researchers at Gartner on a sample population of 4500 adult US citizens, 3.6 million US citizens were victims of phishing attacks in the 12 months up to the end of August of 2007. The total losses were 3.2 billion US dollars. Last year, the losses from phishing in the US "only" amounted to 2.3 billion US dollars, almost double the 1.2 billion losess in 2003.

At the same time, the average loss per person fell to 886 US dollars from 1244 in the previous year. The overall level of damage nonetheless rose because so many more US citizens fell prey to phishers, who continue to prefer to disguise their fraudulent e-mails under the eBay and PayPal brands.

As Gartner analyst Avivah Litan explains, criminals increasingly attempt to get data for debit cards and bank accounts rather than credit card data because security measures are less strict for the former. Litan believes that the number of phishing attacks will continue to increase at least until 2009 and probably even beyond then unless e-mail providers and advertiser networks take action against spy software.


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