Phishing empire dismantled in Italy

26 people - eight of whom are foreign nationals - have been arrested in what appears to one of Europe's largest ever phishing cases.

The arrests follow on from a massive attack on more than 10,000 Web pages last month, apparently by hackers seeking to create spurious copies of legitimate Web sites, using them to harvest account details using phishing emails.

Newswire reports say that the Guardia di Finanza have apprehended 18 Italian citizens plus eight East Europeans in an operation dubbed `Phish & Chip' by the Italian press.

The gang are reported have sent out spurious emails, directing users to forged Poste Italiane Web sites designed to steal their login information.

Yuval Ben-Itzhak, Finjan's CTO, said that the Italian police arrests represent a major milestone in stamping out the problem of organised crime on the Internet.

"Phishing is a very pervasive problem, as many of the emails and Web sites really do look quite genuine," Yuval Ben-Itzhak continued, "Companies should consider installing Web site security analysis software to counter this type of Internet fraud, whilst consumers should consider installing our free SecureBrowsing plug-in for their Web browser."