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[ISN] Report: âSpear-Phishingâ Attacks Keep on Giving
By Kim Zetter
October 26, 2010
The number of targeted phishing attacks against individuals has risen
dramatically in the last five years from one or two a week in 2005 to
more than 70 a day this month, according to a new report from computer
security firm Symantec.
The industry most recently hardest hit by so-called spear-phishing
attacks is the retail industry, according to Symantecâs MessageLabs
Intelligence report. The number of attacks against retail exploded in
September in particular, jumping to 516 attacks from just seven attacks
a month for the rest of 2010.
The statistics are somewhat skewed, though, since most of the September
attacks against retail were directed at a single company. Symantec
counts each copy of a malicious e-mail received by an organization as a
unique attack, even if itâs the same e-mail sent to multiple people at
the same time. But the report illustrates that, five years after its
invention, spear-phishing remains a trusted tool in the modern cyber
Unlike regular phishing attacks, which involve spamming a message to
random users, spear-phishing targets specific individuals or small
groups of employees at specific companies. The former are generally
designed to steal banking credentials and e-mail passwords from users,
while the latter generally focus on gaining access to a system to steal
intellectual property and other sensitive data.
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