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Indian firms acknowledge phishing, spyware threats

If statistical proof was needed of what is commonplace in anecdotes, it is now available, reports Narayanan Madhavan.

india Updated: May 17, 2007 16:52 IST
Narayanan Madhavan
Narayanan Madhavan
Hindustan Times

If statistical proof was needed of what is commonplace in anecdotes, it is now available. India is a prime hunting ground for phishing and spyware fraudsters –those who make you fake e-mail offers in get-rich-quick schemes, and those who steal your identity and passwords to make money in Internet transactions.

"Phishing involves an attempt to fraudulently acquire sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords and credit card details, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity, such as a well-known website in an electronic communication. Fraudsters pose as representing popular sites such as Yahoo and eBay to steal personal details."

"These details are used to steal money from bank accounts or carry out e-commerce transactions illegally."

Threats could arise from activities such as free software downloads, use of instant messaging tools, visits to malicious websites and pop-up ads.

“Organisations were uncertain in quantifying financial loss incurred due to phishing attacks,” the statement said.

"The survey findings are an eye-opener and it may assist Indian CIOs in prioritising their IT security spend into technologies that protect organisations from emerging security threats," said Surendra Singh, India and South-East Asia head for Websense.

Phishing attacks typically involve people claiming to be friends or relatives of deposed African dictators or others believed to be rich who want to offer a part of their secret wealth in exchange for offering bank accounts that serve as their fronts.

People lured into such offers end up coughing huge amounts which fraudsters take away on the ground that this was part of the preliminary requirements for transfer of money. The fraudsters usually vanish with the money.

The survey was conducted across four locations, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, and Hyderabad between January to March.

First Published: May 16, 2007 19:47 IST