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Security news and products; on the menu today is Phish and Spam.

The terms Phishing and Spam are no longer new phrases in the cyber scene, both gaining a lot of publicity in the Internet scene over the last two years. A recent Gartner survey found that phishers are even becoming more specific in who they target, opting for the higher earners or those more likely to make a transaction on the internet. However the criminal underworld, where these two forces have been increasingly working closely together, is a lot less publicized. Almost unknown to us until this year, phishers have actually been paying spammers for the one thing they know best ... our email addresses.

The buying and selling trade of email addresses is now working like this: spammers break into websites' databases for email addresses using tools such as botnets. Once a database is infiltrated, these botnets gather all pertinent information such as names, address and hobbies. These pieces of information, along with the email address, are then sold to the phishers. Spammed phishing attacks have become notorious in 2006 as phishers continued their release of phishing email messages, primarily (and most worryingly) using financial brands.

The security industry is continuously updating itself to fight off the phishing schemes and in Brazil and the UK, three men were arrested and jailed for their phishing schemes this year. But just like the virus and spyware neighbourhood, phishing and spam might forever be here to stay. As long as spammers and phishers continue to work together and find innovative ways to pass through the defenses of online financial institutions, as long as these cyber criminals are able to find ways to hide their identities and locations, and as long as Internet users are not updated with each and every new spam and phishing technique, phishing and spam are here to stay.
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Publication:Software World
Date:Nov 1, 2006
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