Cyber criminals are earning good amount, according to a new US survey "State of the Net" conducted by Consumer Reports National Research Center. The perpetrators earned approximately $8 Billion from spyware, virus and phishing attacks during 2007-08.
Moreover, the general crime rate has been steady during the last 5 years, which Consumer Reports has been monitoring.
However, the problem is likely to turn worse as foreclosures and increasing unemployment are giving rise to a surge of recession related online scams, according to the research center. Moreover, with the increasing popularity of social networking websites that create more opportunities for identity thieves, the problem is similarly set to aggravate. 13% of users on social networks have already encountered some sort of fraud, according to Consumer Reports.
Further, Consumer Reports have found that owing to infections in software, about 1.2 Million end-users replaced their machines during 2007-08. And, a total of 3.7 Million home users of the Internet did not have any sort of firewall to protect their systems from hackers.
Additionally, phishing (dispatching official looking but phony e-mails crafted to capture personal information) remains a constant threat. Consumer Reports have found that approximately 7 Million end-users (one in 13 home users) divulged their sensitive details to phishers during 2007-08.
Among the victims of phishing scams, one in seven victims lost money during the review period Overall, the loss to the US end-users due to phishing estimated at nearly $483 Million.
Further, Consumer Reports found that an estimated 545,000 home users were forced to buy new computers over the last 6 months, with 1 in 12 users suffering from serious spyware problems. In addition, 1.7 Million home users were victims of online identity theft during 2008, with 66% reporting the cause as online purchases.
Clearly, these findings show that the fight to eradicate phishing is still as important as before. In spite of the fact that there exist a large number of security solutions to curb phishing, still a number of them remain to be adopted on a wider scale to turn the tide in the opposite direction, say security experts.