Banks blamed as British lead the world on phishing

The British are victims of the most phishing attacks in the world, according to RSA, with the UK encountering 40 per cent of the 135,426 total cases it detected.

This was more than even the US, which saw 37 per cent of phishing attacks. This surprising statistic was explained by several massive surges against a comparably small number of UK financial institutions during 2008.

Sean Grady, manager of product marketing at RSA, said that UK organisations endured more phishing attacks specifically because of the functionality in the UK banking system in using the faster payments approach the ability to do real-time or near real-time money transfers.

Grady said the whole goal of phishing attacks is to do what criminals refer to as cashing out'. He said: "The UK makes its financial institutions very attractive targets to the fraudsters, because you can transfer money before it can be traced and caught."

Grady said that although UK banking institutions were aware of the security implications, it didn't make them any less susceptible to attack. Attacks were also skewed against larger institutions.

The report also revealed that the number of phishing attacks detected grew by 66 per cent in 2008 over those detected throughout 2007. This was explained by fast-flux' initiated attacks, as well as the increasing use of malware as a service.

Another report released today from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) revealed the costs of online fraud to small businesses added up to an average 800 every year.

The FSB said that more than half of businesses reported being a victim of crime in the last 12 months, with most having problems with phishing emails and the rest falling foul of problems like 'card not present' fraud or viruses.