The number of phishing emails stopped by MessageLabs has multiplied by ten in the last twelve months!

So far in 2004 (and we’re still really close to the beginning of the final month!), MessageLabs have detected 18 million plus phishing email messages!!

Other statistics show that in 2004 73% of all e-mail was spam and one in 16 messages were infected with a virus.

End of Year Report
In it’s year end report MessageLabs said that phishing had become the top online security threat and most popular form of attack by cyber criminals.

September 2003’s phishing statistics (and I don’t mean – “I caught one at least this big” Fishing statistics!) when compared to the same month in 2004 are quite horrifying, moving from just 273 messages in a month to more than two million, just 12 months later.

Phishing is when the criminals make a copy of a website that looks like the real thing and try to get you to enter your details into it, so they can use your details on the real site!

MessageLabs also said:

Already particular businesses are threatened and blackmailed, indicating a shift from the random, scattergun approach, to customised attacks designed to take advantage of the perceived weaknesses of some businesses.

Personally, I reckon I receive probably 20-100 of these per week and BetterWebSpace’s spam filters pull out the vast majority of them. This is especially pleasing considering in 2003 only 40% of emails were spam and the figure is now believed to be close to 75%!!!!