Thursday, December 08, 2005

Seventy Percent of the Population Unable to Recognize a Phishing Scam

Twenty five percent of us will receive a phishing attack aimed at stealing our identity and or financial information every month, according to the AOL/National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) Online Safety Study. Also discovered in this survey is that about seventy percent of us, who receive these phishing e-mails won't be able to identify them as a scam.

According to my friends at Wikipedia, "phishing is a form of social engineering, characterised by attempts to fraudulently acquire sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card details, by masquerading as a trustworthy person or business in an apparently official electronic communication, such as an email or an instant message. The term phishing arises from the use of increasingly sophisticated lures to "fish" for users' financial information and passwords."

The activity is also becoming more sophisticated and these e-mails often inject malware (malicious software) on systems, which can automatically capture personal information via Keyloggers. Keyloggers automatically record "keystrokes" (including passwords, account information etc.) and sends them back to the cyber criminal responsible for putting the software on someone's system.

For those of us, who are unfamiliar with phishing scams, which are getting more sophisticated all the time, a great place to learn how to protect yourself is Stay Safe Online, or the National Cyber Security Alliance.

Phishing designed to steal personal information is a rapidly growing enterprise and with internet access and computers becoming more readily available (cheaper), there are a growing number of victims. Nine million people in the United States fall victim to having their identities stolen (every year) according to the government!

There is also a lot of information on this blog designed to provide resources (often free) on how to avoid becoming a victim of internet scams. Phishing is a subject, I have covered extensively and the blog can be "searched" by "keyword" at the top.

Another great resource to learn about the dangers of identity theft and what to do if one becomes a victim is the Federal Trade Commission: ID Theft website, courtesy of the FTC.

With the holiday season upon us, it is traditional to share goodwill. If seventy percent of us are unaware of the potential dangers of phishing, take a moment and help educate someone you care about. Think about it, if everyone in the world did this, we would protect the innocent and deal a severe blow against the immoral cyberscum, who ruin people's lives for their own gain.


prying1 said...

Way to go Ted. Great post. I'd suggest that people take a few minutes and email the permalink to this post to friends. Expecially those friends that are new to the internet.

Great Word Verification this time around. - lcpdo - much easier than something like qhikjvo...

utenzi said...

I can't believe that 70% stat, Ted. People today have to be more cautious than that. I think that's just one of those pumped up numbers that alarmists like to throw out to the public. Even so, phishing is definitely a serious problem. But 70%?

Ed Dickson said...

I'm not the greatest fan of statistics either. These were based on a survey. It would probably be impossible to be 100 percent accurate.

The message I am sending is education so 100 percent of those I consider important (average people) don't fall victim to this activity.

I appreciate your thoughts and time to express your (valid) viewpoint!

Barnze said...

Scamming bleeders!

Anonymous said...

It's true that phising has success because people are unable to identify the scam, but it's very easy to do if you have the right informations.

We are preparing a report to protect yourself from every threat of the Internet, including: Viruses, Phising and the new form of attack called "Pharming" and future threats.

You could subscribe to our announcement list here:


Andres Berger
Managing Director

Ed Dickson said...

Mr Berger states on his site that he hates SPAM.

So why is he SPAMMING blogs with his advertising.

Someone should teach him how to use proper grammar, also. That way he might be able to get his informations (??) out.

Barnes couldn't have been more eloquent...."Scamming Bleeder."

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