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Rapid rise in phishing fraud raises concerns about online security

05 November 2018 - 15:28 by Graham Miller

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Over the past three months the volumes of fake e-commerce sites designed to trick consumers and steal personal info spiked by a massive 297 per cent, according to a new study from Riskfield.

So-called ‘phishing’ sites are increasingly common, using convincing layouts and easily overlooked URLs to convince shoppers that they are visiting a genuine portal for safe shopping online. Crooks can then siphon private data and infect devices with malware to cause more mischief and potentially leave innocent people out of pocket as a result.

This increase is even more worrying given that the study also found that cybercriminals are using different techniques to subvert security and con consumers.

There was a 469 per cent uptick in the number of malicious applications launched on legitimate mobile platforms in the third quarter of the year, which is evidence of just how valuable and vulnerable smartphone owners are seen as being by the criminal fraternity.

Analysts also recorded a 345 per cent expansion of phoney profiles created on mainstream social media platforms which can be used for everything from phishing purposes to subverting the course of political discussions and even impacting the results of elections.

The problem for retailers that want to offer safe shopping online is that they too are attempting to leverage social media more effectively at the moment, which means it is much harder for customers to tell the difference between genuine posts and accounts and those that are designed by malicious third parties to defraud them.

Networking sites and app store operators need to do more in order to ensure that these dangerous elements are eliminated swiftly, rather than allowed to linger and pose a threat to people who just want to get the best deal on their next online purchase.