Phishing hurts brand confidence

Phishing attacks don't just hurt those tricked into clicking, but damage the brand being spoofed, a new survey has shown.

The YouGov survey, sponsored by message security firm Cloudmark, found that 42 per cent of respondents said their trust in a brand would drop if they received a phishing email purporting to be from that firm - despite the fact that the firm is in no way involved.

Banks were the most likely to see such a drop in consumer confidence, with 41 per cent of those surveyed saying their trust would fall after a phishing attempt, compared to 40 per cent for an internet service provider, 36 per cent for an online retailer or 33 per cent for a social networking site.

Neil Cook, UK technology chief at Cloudmark, said: "What is interesting to note from these results is that well-known brands are also suffering, with phishing attacks having a detrimental effect on their reputation. This knock-on effect will be particularly worrying for the banks, who rely on a high degree of trust with their customers."

But over a quarter of those surveyed said they themselves were responsible for protecting themselves against phishing. Another 23 per cent said the ISP or email service provider should be held responsible for not stopping the message getting though, while 17 per cent said the ISP of the sender should be held responsible.

Cloudmark released separate research in addition to the survey which showed that NatWest was the most phished UK brand last month. The research also showed that the majority of unique phishing websites in Europe are created using a UK domain.