MasterCard: Phishing Attacks Up, but Losses Flat
MasterCard International said Tuesday that over the past year it has shut down nearly 1,400 phishing Web sites and more than 750 sites set up to trade credit card information. The company also uncovered more than 35,000 MasterCard account numbers being traded on the Web and on Internet relay chat (IRC) channels. In January, I wrote a piece on the underground market for credit card accounts gleaned from phishing scams.
Sergio Pinon, MasterCard's senior vice president of security and risk services, said that while the number of scams using the company's brand and trademarks has skyrocketed over the past year, the actual losses associated with compromised account numbers have remained flat. Pinon said a big reason for that is the company's alliance with anti-phishing company NameProtect.
According to the latest report from the Anti-Phishing Working Group, there were 13,141 new and unique phishing e-mails sent in February. The number of phishing attacks have increased an average of 26 percent each month since July 2004, the APWG found.
Not all of the credit card numbers found online are posted by criminals; for example, Pinon said that in several cases the company stumbled on account numbers sitting in poorly secured databases run by companies that organize meetings and conferences.
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