Cyber criminals are stepping up the fight to steal your personal information, according to a new report from Microsoft.
The software giant’s most recent Security Intelligence Report found that 31.6 million phishing scams were detected across the globe during the first half of 2007.
That’s an increase of more than 150% over the previous six months.
Phishing emails are fake emails which claim to be sent by a site such as eBay or PayPal or your bank, but links embedded within the emails direct users to fake websites which look very similar to the real thing.
Trojans and malware
The Microsoft study also shows a 500% increase in ‘trojan horses’ and ‘malicious software’ or ‘malware’.
These programs let hackers hijack your computer or log your passwords. Malware steals information by tracking every key pressed and the details are then sold on and used to empty people’s bank accounts or take out loans.
Microsoft corporate vice-president Ben Fathi said: ‘We are seeing cyber criminals becoming more sophisticated, diverse and targeted in their methods of stealing personal information.
‘Personal information is the currency of crime, and malicious attackers are targeting it to make their cyber attacks and other scams more authentic, credible and successful, and to make a profit.’