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05 October 2009, 11:27

Report: Phishing and scareware on the rise

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APWG logo According to a reportPDF by the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), the number of phishing incidents and rogue anti-malware programs (also known as scareware) are rising at an "unprecedented rate". In its report, APWG says that around four fifths of the phishing attack websites claim to offer payment and financial services and in the first half of 2009, a total of more than 485,000 strains of scareware were found. Approximately 22,000 a month were reported in January, rising to over 152,000 in June – indicating a very strong upward trend.

Scareware attempts to deceive users into thinking that they have an infection on their PC, using pop-ups or through alarmist advertising on web pages, such as the banner ads that recently appeared on the New York Times website. The banners usually lead to a fraudster's website for bogus anti-spyware or anti-virus products. These programs, however, usually have no useful function, but after installation simply report a false list of infections followed by request for payment in order to 'disinfect' the PC. Information on recognising scareware, protecting yourself from it and removing it can be found in the feature article "Thieves and charlatans - Rogue anti-virus products" from The H Security.

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