Phishing attacks account for more than one in two viruses

More than half (55.59 per cent) of all malware sent on email is an attempted phishing attack, according to analysis of malware in January 2010 by Network Box.

Phishing attacks soared before Christmas (to 57 per cent of malware), as criminals attempted to exploit the number of people shopping online, but the numbers have stayed at a similar level through January.

Brazil continues to dominate as the top source of viruses, though it is down slightly from last month, accounting for 15.7 per cent of all viruses (against more than 20 per cent last month). The number of viruses coming from the UK has increased slightly, at 3.3 per cent (up from 2.6 per cent in December).

Germany has appeared in the top 10 sources of viruses and spam for the first time, now accounting for 2.3 per cent of all viruses, and 2.4 per cent of all spam.

Volumes of spam and viruses are up from the US on last month at 10 per cent (up from 8.7 per cent) and 11.1 per cent (up from 7.8 per cent) respectively.

Simon Heron, internet security analyst at Network Box, says: “We normally expect to see phishing attacks drop slightly after Christmas, but this year we’re seeing the number of attacks staying high. Sustained economic difficulties combined with shoppers seeking online sales bargains create an ideal environment for criminals. What’s interesting is the increase in attacks from two of Western Europe’s major economies – the UK and Germany – as well as from the more “traditional’ centres of attack.”

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