Online fraud schemes and malware are now aimed well beyond big banks and online merchants as crime syndicates seek victims, according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group.
In its fourth-quarter 2009 report just released, the APWG said the number of hijacked brands reached a record 356 in October, compared with 341 in the previous record month of August 2009.
"Once, only the largest banks were targeted. Now, every kind of enterprise from banks and credit unions of all sizes to charities to, in a recent case, a hardware manufacturer, are now seeing their brands exploited in all manner of fraud schemes," said Peter Cassidy, secretary general of the international trade association.
The APWG also said that while the number of unique phishing reports dropped nearly 30% in the fourth quarter of 2009, high-value targets such as personnel with treasury authority are attracting individual, focused attention from e-criminals.
The trade group's quarterly report also said that the total number of infected computers reported was 10,305,805 worldwide in the fourth quarter, representing more than 47.8% percent of the total sample of scanned computers.