NY Times: Phishing

Saul Hansell writes about phishing scams in today’s New York Times.

Brightmail of San Francisco, which filters e-mail for spam, identified 2.3 billion phishing messages in February, 4 percent of the e-mail it processed, compared with only 1 percent of its messages as recently as September.

Phishing got its name a decade ago when America Online charged users by the hour. Teenagers sent e-mail and instant messages pretending to be AOL customer service agents in order to fish, or phish, for account identification and passwords they could use to stay online at someone else’s expense. After AOL switched to a flat monthly rate, the same phishing methods were used to steal credit card information.

I have used eBay’s toolbar, but there is no explanation why your toolbar turned green to indicate you are on an eBay or a PayPal site. The toolbar also sniffs logon pages just in case you are using your eBay username and/or password on any non-eBay site and warns you this is a non-eBay site and, if this site is legitimate, you really should choose separate user names and passwords for each site.

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