Vacation Time Phishing Time

Its vacation in North America; so is the case in many other parts of the world. Some are travelling while others take short breaks from work to enjoy the summer treats. In travel, we may be forced to use public internet kiosk or WIFI.

During this time, school goers are spending more time on the internet, movies and TV during this time. It’s that time of the year when we have more visitors at home and may end up using our computers.

So what’s the problem? Well, Fortinet – a threat management vendor issued a report stating that June 2009 marks the highest rate of phishing attack to date. Isn’t that obvious considering this time of the year and the economic conditions? Those who are out of work may adopt jobs for the phishers and spammers; while others are looking for the best deals on the internet.

Most of the Trojans are hosted on gaming sites that many visit more often during this time of the year. Get a personal firewall and anti virus software for computers used for such purpose. Your ISP may provide you these softwares for free. Ensure that they are up to date with signatures. Some browsers have the capability to subscribe to blacklists, which when subscribed blocks access to such websites.

You may get flaky deals by email phishing for your personal information. In this economic downturn, people are desperate to take on any good deals available on the internet – good target for phishers and spammers. Some emails are designed in such a way they are authentic coming from your bank requesting you to update your information. How did strangers get your email in the first place? Remember your honorable posts on the internet with your powerful email address at the end. Turn on your email spam guards to avoid such phishing attacks.

When you are travelling, try to avoid public kiosks and WIFI – they could be hosting such malicious software and could be part of a large botnet. Do not access your financial accounts from such places. If possible always keep a small netbook for such use in travel.

At home, try to have a separate secure computer that you can use for accessing financial accounts. Or it could be the other way around – keep a separate computer for your entertainment and gaming access which will not be used for accessing financial accounts. Not many are fortunate to have multiple computers at home. So, as I mentioned earlier, try to have anti virus and anti malware software with a personal firewall on your computer.

It’s reported 22 percent of the reported activity comes from south of my border – the US; while there is significant proportion of attacks originating from Singapore, Japan and China.

I think the trend is expected to grow until this economic condition gets better.

1 comment

  1. Hi Shaheen,
    My name is Guy Huntington. I am very experienced independent identity management consultant who has led many large Fortune 500 identity projects. I’ve just finished leading Toronto Hydro’s identity program. So I’m in the Toronto area.

    The reason for this reply is that for the last two years, I have been working with Munich Re Life here in Toronto developing a series of security awareness training products “Train in a Flash”. I am partnering with and Munich Re to do a pilot on measuring effectiveness of out malware training. In the later part of August we’re going to run our 4 miinute malware program and then design a general phishing attack and also one for executives “Spear phish”. For those souls who click on the links, phishme will direct them to a remediation program we’re going to build. It’s our first attempt at measuring the success of our phishing training.

    My identity management website is You’ll find lots of interesting blogs I’ve recently posted on physical/logical security. I’ve also recently written 14 new white papers which are also avialable on the website.

    Looking forward to meeting you in the flesh here or in San Diego.


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