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Sector

2009 Percentage

2008 Percentage

Financial

74%

79%

ISP

9%

8%

Retail

6%

4%

Insurance

3%

2%

Internet community

2%

2%

Telecom

2%

2%

Computer hardware

1%

1%

Government

1%

1%

Computer software

<1%

<1%

Transportation

<1%

<1%

Symantec Global internet Security threat report

No financial crisis for cybercriminals

A number of large financial institutions in many countries were severely affected by the latest global financial crisis, resulting in some banks being acquired or merging with others. the downturn, though, does not appear to have hindered the underground economy or cybercrime targeting financial services in any significant way. in 2009, the financial sector remained the sector most heavily targeted by phishing attacks, accounting for 74 percent of the brands used in phishing campaigns (table 4). the next closest sector was internet service providers, at only 9 percent. this indicates that phishing financial services brands continues to be lucrative for attackers or they would likely have abandoned it in favor of other targets.

Table 4. Unique brands phished, by sector Source: Symantec

the volume of financial services spam also remained relatively unchanged in 2009 (figure 3). While the levels of financially oriented spam and phishing have remained relatively constant despite the recent economic downturn, attackers have made adjustments in their tactics. For example, Symantec observed more messages advertising refinancing of debts and mortgages along with offers of loans or opportunities to earn money while working from home. this shows that attackers are able to rapidly adapt their social engineering techniques to better take advantage of current events and situations.

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