Cyveillance Examines Industry Threat Estimates; Finds Traditional Internet Security Indicators Dramatically Underestimate Phishing Risk

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Cyveillance detects 176,864 distinct phishing attacks between June and August 2009, one of the highest three-month totals on record.

There has been a natural evolution of attack vectors over the years, which began with malware on floppy disks, progressing to emails, Web sites and now other avenues including Twitter, Facebook and even cellular phones

Cyveillance, a world leader in cyber intelligence, today announced a significant increase in phishing attacks, contradicting claims by leading technology vendors IBM, Microsoft and Symantec. Based on its comprehensive Internet monitoring and sophisticated intelligence analysis, Cyveillance is seeing a consistent increase in phishing attacks (176,864 over the past three months) with growth from areas outside traditional email spam; including social networking, voice and SMS texting.

"There has been a natural evolution of attack vectors over the years, which began with malware on floppy disks, progressing to emails, Web sites and now other avenues including Twitter, Facebook and even cellular phones," said Panos Anastassiadis, President and CEO of Cyveillance. "Phishing is no different. Phishers have simply become more efficient at launching their attacks and consumers need to be aware that these threats are no longer limited to simple spam email campaigns."

Phishing causes the majority of its damage within the first 24 hours of being launched, making it crucial for vendors to detect attacks as quickly as possible. Microsoft recently reported its Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) service detected over 80% of phishing attacks. Cyveillance, in on-going research into online threats, has tested that same tool and found that only 31.5% of newly identified phishing attacks were actually detected. Cyveillance testing shows that Internet Explorer 8 has indeed increased its detection rate by 6% over Internet Explorer 7, but even this improved service leaves users vulnerable to over two-thirds of newly discovered phishing attacks.

Industry leaders IBM and Symantec recently reported a decline in phishing attacks for 2009, basing their report primarily on traditional indicators of malicious activity: a decrease in spam activity and phishing toolkits. Cyveillance, however, has determined that traditional warning indicators no longer effectively expose the phishing threat level: the threat is in fact increasing. From June to August 2009 Cyveillance directly identified 176,864 actual, distinct phishing attacks, one of the highest three-month volumes ever detected. The industry has focused on traditional email-based phishing attacks, which is no longer the preferred method of today's more successful phishers. Traditional email monitoring misses attacks perpetrated through more creative means, including URLs distributed by tweets, instant messages and SMS texts. Therefore, while phishing email volume may have fallen, the number of phishing attacks is actually rising through more sophisticated methods of identifying and attacking targets (and also through more focused email campaigns launched by phishers).

Recognizing that the level of threat can be cyclical, Cyveillance is warning consumers to be aware that no "silver bullet" will protect against phishing attacks. It is important for consumers to not solely rely on vendor solutions and stay educated about new and evolving threats, as phishing still relies on human interaction to capture sensitive data.

All Cyveillance phishing figures and statistics are actual measurements, not projections based upon sample datasets1. Cyveillance's IE8 testing took place over a three-day period in August and examined the percentage of phishing attacks recognized by the tool upon real-time detection. The phishing statistics were collected and analyzed between June and August 2009. For more information about Cyveillance's research findings in their "1H 2009 Cyber Intelligence Report".

About Cyveillance
Cyveillance, a world leader in cyber intelligence, provides an intelligence-led approach to security. Through continuous, comprehensive Internet monitoring and sophisticated intelligence analysis, Cyveillance proactively identifies and eliminates threats to information, infrastructure, individuals and their interactions, enabling its customers to preserve their reputation, revenues, and customer trust. Cyveillance serves the Global 2000 and OEM Data Partners - protecting the majority of the Fortune 50, regional financial institutions nationwide, and more than 30 million global consumers through its partnerships with security and service providers that include AOL and Microsoft. Cyveillance is a wholly owned subsidiary of QinetiQ North America. For more information, please visit or

1Cyveillance's comprehensive monitoring technology continuously sweeps the Internet - monitoring and collecting information from over 200 million unique domain name servers, 183 million unique Web sites, 80 million blogs, 90,000 message boards, thousands of IRC/Chat channels, billions of spam emails, auction sites, bot networks and more. This approach yields the discovery of more than 100,000 new sites each day.


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