The days of viral phishing are over. Since its inception, phishing, has always been a criminal magnet. It has a low start-up cost and few barriers to entry. At .ORG, Public Interest Registry, we work hard to combat phishing attacks. So much so, phishers have largely stopped registering domains on both .ORG and .INFO. In 2009, phishing reached an all time peak with a shocking number of attacks. In a new report by Boston-based APWG , called the Global Phishing Report, authors Greg Aaron and Rod Rasmussen delve into the attacks of 2009 and highlight the dangers of “phishing gangs.”
According to the report, the gravity of phishing attacks which occurred in 2009 is alarming. The number of phishing URLs reported in the second half of 2009 were at about 125,000, more than double the attacks in the first half of the year. Additionally, the attacks occurred on about 30,000 unique domain names. Phish were also detected on over 2,000 unique IP addresses rather than on domain names, and of the 29,000 phishing domains, about 6,400 were registered maliciously by phishers. What’s more shocking is that of those 6,400, about 4,100 were registered by one terrible player in the internet space – a dreaded beast called the Avalanche.
To date, Avalanche was one of the most sophisticated and damaging phishing tools on the Internet. It perfected a mass production system for deploying other phishing sites and malware, designed specifically to automate identity theft and facilitate authorized transactions from consumer bank accounts. This application was so vindictive that it was responsible for two-thirds of all attacks launched in the second half of 2009 and was responsible for the overall increase in phishing attacks ever recorded on the Internet.
Phishers are attracted to websites that are rich in registrants. Thus, .ORG has a large number of phish on compromised Web sites. However, .ORG’s non-Avalanche phishing times are far below average. So much so, that the great majority of phishing is concentrated in just a few namespaces. In fact, 76% of all phishing occurred in just four TLD’s: .COM, .EU, .NET, and .UK.
This informative APWG report thoroughly showcases the risk phishers pose to sites. At PIR, we are always working and advancing our preventative systems and remain committed to blocking phishers from registering on our domains.