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News

Website propagated crimeware climbs to all-time high

Anti-Phishing Working Group : 10 December, 2008  (Technical Article)
Targeted phishing revealed as the developing trend of crimeware in the latest report from the Anti-Phishing Working Group
The crimeware scourge is menacing the Web at levels never before detected by the APWG, with crimeware-spreading websites nearly tripling in number in the 12 months before the end of Q2/2008 - and the number of recorded crimeware variants shattering all previous records.

The APWG reports this week that in Q2/2008 the number of crimeware-spreading URLs exploded to a record high of 9529 at quarter's end - 258 percent higher than at the end of Q2/2007. Within the quarter, the number of malicious application variants hit a record high of 442 in May, up some 105 percent from May 2007.

Websense Chief Technology Officer and APWG Phishing Activity Trends Report contributing analyst Dan Hubbard said that the large boost is attributed mainly to malicious code being utilized in SQL injection attacks.

During the same Q2 period, the APWG reported, the number of unique brand-domain pairs steadily decreased during the period of April through June, from 7,656 to 6,768. (The brand/domain pairs count the unique instances of a domain being used to target a specific brand.)

Vice President of Product Marketing at MarkMonitor and APWG Phishing Activity Trends Report contributing analyst Blake Hayward said, 'While the number of unique Phish URL's declined in Q2, the number of brands targeted continues to rise. This suggests that phishers are investing in sophisticated marketing tools and IT infrastructure in order to conduct more targeted spear phishing campaigns."

APWG Chairman Dave Jevans said, "Cyber criminals continue to increase their activities to levels never before seen in the 5 years since the APWG has been monitoring phishing and crimeware. While phishing continues unabated, the most concerning trend is the dramatic rise in crimeware and the websites that distribute it.

"The current financial crisis has also been used by phishers to create new scams that try to scare consumers into entering their usernames and passwords into sites that mimic those of well known distressed financial institutions. As the economy degrades, we are seeing a continual increase in malicious and criminal activity on the Internet. We urge caution in these challenging times," Mr. Jevans said.

Q2 2008 Phishing Activity Trends Report Highlights:.

* Unique phishing attack reports submitted to APWG rose 13 percent during the quarter to 28,151 in June.
* Unique phishing websites reported to APWG in June to 21,703, decreased more than 11 percent from April.
* May presented a record high of 294 hijacked brands and the quarter's 485 victimized brands is also a record high.
* The category of Other in the 'Targeted Industry Segment' measurement increased to 4 percent of the total due to attacks against social networking and national tax agencies.
* The number malicious application variants hit a record high of 442 in April.
* The number of crimeware-spreading URLs exploded to a record high of 9529 at quarter's end - 258 percent higher than at the end in of Q2 2007.
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