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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

Phishing white paper review

23 August, 2007
We take a look at ESET's white paper on the phishing phenomenon.
In today's news, ESET announced the availability of its phishing white paper so I thought I'd take a look at it and see if it adds any value to the forest of white papers already out there on the subject.

Co-authored by ESET's Chief Research Officer and an acknowledged expert on the subject of IT threats, there was no shortage of expertise went into its creation, but could a couple of IT experts really communicate this complex subject in sufficiently engaging terms to sustain readership throughout its rather cumbersome 28 pages?

The answer is clear from the start. The author's have organised the material well, injected some humour and kept the language clear, making this a useful and interesting read for anyone with an interest in the topic regardless of how switched on they are to the world of IT security.

Taking you on a step by step guide through the history of phishing, the latest trends, how to recognise it and what to do about it, the white paper is as comprehensive a guide to phishing as I've seen to date.

There is an interesting section on distinguishing phishing scams from other fraudulent e-mails such as the annoying 419 scams and pump and dump frauds where the authors warn of the insidious progression towards indirect frauds which manipulate other bodies such as the stock exchange.

An in-depth section on the "phishing economy" is a valuable insight into how these scams work and answers the question that so many people ask when they're faced with a barrage of junk e-mail†how do these guys actually make any money? They do and lots of it â€. This section tells you how.

All the pre-amble is worth the read purely for the interest but the real value lies in the last 6 or 7 pages of the white paper devoted to recognition and user response to the problem. This is the bit that will help many people who are not already au fait with the phisher's craft, avoid becoming a victim.

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