Trend Micro Consumer Newsletter | Security Tips, Tricks, and Updates February 2009      

Phishing Gets Harder Over Time

A new study suggests that phishing may not be nearly as lucrative—or as easy—as many news stories would have us believe.

Two Microsoft researchers say that the very purported ease and high reward of phishing leads more entrants into the field, which means more competition for an increasingly small pool of potential dupes. And the more consumers are exposed to phishing attempts, the better they get at spotting them, making it harder and harder for scammers to succeed.

These researchers also point out that, of the estimated .37 percent of Web users who do find their identity compromised in a phishing attack, not all of them will actually suffer financial consequences. Phishers may attempt to use stolen information but be blocked or detected before they can complete a fraudulent transaction. Or they might get shut down before they even have a chance to try to do anything with pilfered data.

None of this should suggest that phishing is about to go away anytime soon. In fact, it might be the case that phishing's diminishing effectiveness will force scammers to come up with novel, more convincing ways to get people to produce their personal information. So stay vigilant and make sure your Internet security software comes with a phishing filter—you never know what the next attack might look like.

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