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Cybercriminals Change Strategy: Phishing Dips, Zeus Rises

The second quarter Phishing Trends Report from Internet security provider IID  (Internet Identity) indicates that there has been a significant switch in the tactics of cyber criminals, with at least one major gang shifting its entire focus away from phishing to Zeus malware, often referred to as man-in-the-browser malware.

Cybercrime Trends

The second quarter Phishing Trends Report from Internet security provider IID  (Internet Identity) indicates that there has been a significant switch in the tactics of cyber criminals, with at least one major gang shifting its entire focus away from phishing to Zeus malware, often referred to as man-in-the-browser malware.

Cybercrime Trends

IID deduces this shift based on data contributed by security and Internet infrastructure organizations like ICANN and APWG, and from the fact that phishing from Avalanche, a notorious gang which was at one time responsible for two-thirds of all phishing attacks, has fallen off to zero. Phishing from non-Avalanche sources is up 12 percent, partly making up for the gang’s demise, but year-to-year phishing instances are still down 10 percent.

The rise of Zeus is an alarming development, as Zeus is particularly resistant to detection. According to a recent study by Trusteer involving 10,000 computers, 55 percent could not find and remove Zeus, even though they were equipped with the latest updates of their security and antivirus software.

Other highlights from the new IID report:

• Traditional bank phishing now comprises about 50 percent of overall phishing, down from almost 60 percent in Q2 2009.

• The U.S. remained in the top spot for overall phish hosting volume, while Canada jumped from seventh to second.

• Domain Name System (DNS) hijackings continued to proliferate. Several major brands were taken over in Israel.

In spite of a small dip in phishing, IID President and CTO Rod Rasmussen warns, “It’s imperative that organizations keep their phishing guard up in the coming months, because we’ve seen plenty of new phishing campaigns launched against an even wider range of target organizations.”

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