Application security

APWG: Record phishing highs in March

Phishing was at record-high levels in March, taking advantage of the April 15 tax-filing deadline, according to a recent report by the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG).

For the first time, the organization reported more than 18,000 unique phishing reports within a month, collecting 18,480 for all of March. The study also noted 9,666 unique phishing sites received during the month. Last March saw 12,883 reports of unique phishing attempts.

A considerable drop off was seen two months ago in the number of brands hijacked by phishers, falling by 35 from February. However, for the first time, a bank was the most phished company.

"This would potentially indicate that the phishers have found a way to easily monetize the phished credentials for this particular financial institution," according to the report. Financial services were the most targeted industry sector, comprising 90 percent of all attacks during March.

The APWG's Phishing Activity Trends Report also showed that more than 48 percent of all phishing attempts had the target's name in the URL, while 32 percent had no hostname, just an IP address.

The APWG reported in January that phishing attacks had almost doubled from a year before. The number of email-based attack rose to 16,882 in November 2005, almost doubling the figure from the previous November of 8,975, according to an APWG report released more than three months ago. The number of phishing websites also increased from 1,518 in November 2004 to 4,630 the following year, an increase of more than 300 percent in a year.

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