China behind threefold increase in phishing attacks

According to a report from New Zealand, Chinese hackers are responsible for a massive surge in the number of global phishing attacks in the last few weeks.

The research, from Marshal's Threat Research and Content Engineering (TRACE) Team in Auckland, NZ, says that the significant increase in phishing emails is mainly due to a massive jump in phishing messages being sent from South Korea and China.

The report says that phishing emails increased from 0.4 per cent of total spam in November 24 to 2.2 per cent at the start of this month.

This, says the report, signals the highest level of phishing emails since July, 2006 and represents a tripling of the average phishing email rates over the last six months.

According to Marshal, China is now the number one generator of phishing emails in the world, moving up from 10th position in just one week.

In addition to the rise in phishing, the TRACE team reported that Christmas spam rates have exploded over November, rising to 10.9 per cent of all spam.

"Like spam levels, which have almost doubled in the past month, the current spike in phishing emails is in part being driven by the Christmas season," said Bradley Anstis, Marshal's director of product management.

According to Anstis, spammers are no longer using one spam variation repeatedly until it no longer gets through.

"They are constantly varying their spam techniques such as with "Ransom Note Spam", using animated GIFs and extreme use of image randomisation. Spammers will often use a technique once before moving on to another method," he explained...