Phishers Threaten E-Commerce The big danger of phishing, experts say, is that it could undermine confidence in the Internet and slow down the billions of dollars spent each year through online commerce. "Mass phishing will have an impact on e-commerce, very similar to how spam has lessened the impact of e-mail," said Scott Chasin, chief technology officer for the anti-spam company MX Logic.
By Ross Wehner The Denver Post 01/01/05 5:00 AM PT It takes a lot of wrongdoing to mobilize the FBI, nine of the top 10 U.S. banks and corporations like Microsoft and America Online. All these organizations banded together in December to fight phishing, a fast-growing form of online identity theft that is costing billions of dollars and threatening the future of e-commerce. "It's the fastest emerging threat to our members," said Andrew Weinstein, a spokesman for AOL one of the founding members of the Digital PhishNet group. "It's right at the top of our hit list." Massive Fraud According to a recent study by Gartner, a provider of information technology research, 57 million Americans have received phishing e-mails, which often bear subject lines such as "IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED." Eleven million Americans have clicked on links inside these credible-looking e-mails, which in turn lead to what looks like the Web page of a bank or e-commerce companies such as eBay, PayPal, or Visa. And 1.8 million consumers, or 3 percent of the total, complied with the request to update sensitive information such as Social Security and credit-card numbers. A click of a button on a phishing Web site -- which is often indistinguishable from the real McCoy -- sends the person's financial information to identity thieves who are increasingly part of organized crime rings in far-away places like Romania, Ukraine, China, Thailand or Nigeria. The thieves bundle the credit-card numbers in batches of a hundred and sell them over secret Web pages to other specialized cyber bandits. In less than a day, crooks in Eastern Europe can max out a credit card in the U.S., empty a checking account and destroy a credit rating that took a lifetime to build. The estimated amount of money lost to phishing scams varies from the USD 500 million per year to Gartner's estimate of USD 2.4 billion per year. A single group of 53 phishing thieves, arrested in Brazil in October, stole an estimated USD 30 million, according to authorities.
The only easy day was yesterday.
...some do, some don't; some will, some won't (WR)