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13 May 2010, 16:55

Facebook, the new phishing target

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Zoom Targets of phishing attacks.
Source: Kaspersky
In a study by Kaspersky, which investigated the amount of spam generated between January and March 2010, Facebook was the first social networking site to have made it into the list of top targets for phishing attacks. With 5.7% of all phishing attacks, Facebook took fourth place behind the traditional phishing targets PayPal, eBay and international bank HSBC.

According to Kaspersky, this is the first time ever that a social networking site has been a major phishing target. Kaspersky say that the phishers use hijacked Facebook accounts to send out spam and take advantage of Facebook mechanisms such as invitations.

In the first quarter of 2010, the anti-virus vendor found phishing attacks in 0.57% of all emails. While the proportion of phishing emails in January and February was on the same level as that of the previous year at 0.81% and 0.87%, March saw a strong decline to 0.03% – the researchers could not give an explanation for this drop.

The total proportion of spam emails between January and March 2010 was 85.2%, which is roughly equivalent to the 2009 figure. The US was the largest source of spam with a 16% share of all spam email, followed by India (7%) and Russia (6%).

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