Crime syndicates are expanding their efforts well beyond big banks and online merchants as they phish for cyber victims, according to a major antifraud collaboration.

"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 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.

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