Number of phishing websites reaches all-time high

When hackers go fishing, they’re after your financial account information!

The phrase “gone fishin’” never sounded so ominous. According to a recent report by the Anti-Phishing Working Group, the total number of phishing websites reached an all-time high of 56,859 in February, and that number remained steady for a three-month period.

According to the report, phishing attacks use a mixture of social engineering and technology tricks to steal someone’s online identity. One of the common social engineering tricks phishers use is sending fraudulent emails that look like they’re from legitimate businesses. The emails encourage users to visit fake websites and enter sensitive account information. Other tactics used by cyber criminals include tricking users into downloading spyware that monitors their activity or logs the keys they type.

The report also provides some statistics on infection rates. An average of 35.51 percent of computers worldwide are infected with malware. Certain countries fair better than others, though. China’s malware infection rate tops the rankings with 54.1 percent and Sweden is at the bottom with 17.94 percent.

Going phishing on Facebook
Besides email attacks, social media websites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are becoming increasingly popular targets for phishers. As a V3.co.uk article pointed out, social media attacks are becoming a little trickier, too. The article highlighted a series of fake email notifications that appeared to be from Facebook. The emails claimed users had been tagged in photos, but the links in the email lead to a malware-hosting website. Luckily, the scam is easy to spot, due to the links containing the word “Faceboook” instead of “Facebook.”

Have you been targeted by a phishing attack? How did you spot it as a fake?

Kate Beckham

Kate has been lighting up the blogosphere for over 5 years, with a keen interest in social media and new malware threats. When not sitting at a café behind her Mac, you’ll usually find her scouring the racks for vintage finds or playing guitar.