We’ve all come across them; links to well-known websites, provided by friends or in an email, that just don’t look right.
These websites are phonies created by hackers to get sensitive information like credit card numbers, Social Insurance Numbers or anything else that might help the cybercriminals steal your identity. And according to PandaLabs, Panda Security’s antivirus developer, the problem is getting worse. They’ve just released a new study that shows 57,000 new websites that emulate popular brands are going online on a weekly basis.
Banks were the biggest target, with a whopping 65% of the fake sites pretending to be legitimate banking sites. Online auction stores came in second with 27%.
The top targeted brands were eBay (23.21%), Western Union (21.15%), Visa (9.51%), the United Services Automobile Association (6.85%), HSBC (5.98%), Bank of America (2.29%), PayPal (1.77%), Internal Revenue Service (1.69%) and Bendigo Bank (1.38%).
“Although search engines are making an effort to mitigate the problem by changing indexing algorithms, they have so far been unable to offset the avalanche of new websites being created by hackers every day,” Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs, told SecurityWeek.com.
Part of the problem, Corrons added, was that it can be difficult to know if you’re visiting a legitimate website if you’ve clicked on a link from an email or on a search engine. He recommends manually typing in URLs of sensitive websites like banks to ensure that the website you are visiting is genuine.