December 7, 2005

Study says 1 in 4 targets of e-mail phishing scams

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Roughly one in four U.S. Internet
users are targets of phishing attacks -- phony e-mails seeking
personal financial data -- according to a study conducted by
Time Warner Inc.'s Internet unit AOL and the National Cyber
Security Alliance.

In a phishing attack, e-mails ask prospective victims to
verify personal information through links to real-looking Web

According to the study, 70 percent of consumers who
received such e-mails thought they were from legitimate

"Phishers are getting better at tricking consumers into
revealing their bank account and financial information, and
most Americans can't tell the difference between real e-mails
and the growing flood of scams that lead to fraud and identity
theft," said Tatiana Platt, AOL's chief trust officer, who's in
charge of privacy and security.

"Consumers need to be aware of the risk, and they need to
use critical protections like anti-virus software, spyware
protection, and a firewall to help protect them from online
threats," she said.

The study showed that 81 percent of home PC's lack either
updated computer software, spyware protection or a secure

"Far too many people still lack the three fundamental
protections they need to stay safe online," said Ron Teixeira,
executive director, National Cyber Security Alliance.