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Phishing Responsible for $687M in Global Losses for First Half of 2012

According to a recent report from security firm RSA, phishing attacks in the first half of 2012 have accounted for more than $687 million in losses while the country hosting the most phishing and pharming sites is by far the United States.

According to RSA there were over 195,000 unique phishing attacks during the first six months of 2012 and over that time frame phishing caused $687 million in worldwide losses. The number of unique phishing attacks in the first half of 2012 was estimated to be a 19 percent increase from the number of phishing attacks that occurred over the previous six months. During the first half of 2012 the countries that received the most phishing attacks per month were the United States, Britain, Canada, Brazil and South Africa. Canada had the largest growth in phishing attacks, a 400 percent increase during the first six months of 2012.

RSA additionally found a disproportionate amount of phishing and pharming sites that are being hosted in the United States. According to the report, around 60 percent of phishing or pharming sites are hosted in the United States while no other country hosts more than 7 percent. The top three countries in terms of hosting phishing and pharming sites are the U.S., U.K. and Germany who host 60 percent, 7 percent and 6 percent of the world’s phishing sites, respectively.

Although the number of unique phishing attacks has increased so far in 2012, the $687 million in fraud losses from phishing is actually a decrease from the previous 6 month period. Although phishing attacks are more plentiful, the average lifespan of a phishing attack has been shortened due to increased awareness and brand protection initiatives from the impersonated organizations. According to the Anti-Phishing workgroup, while it once took 15.3 hours on average per incident to take down a phishing attack, this has been reduced to 11.7 hours per incident.

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