Phishing, is an electronic crime, that refers to luring techniques used by identity thieves to “fish” for personal information in a pond of unsuspecting internet users. It is a general term for the creation and use by criminals of e-mails and websites that have been designed to look like they are coming from well-known, legitimate trusted businesses, financial institutions and gov. agencies. The disguised e-criminals deceive internet users to disclosing their bank and financial information or other personal data such as usernames and password…etc.
Phishing continues to be regarded as one of the most rapidly growing class of identity theft scams on the internet that is really causing both short-term loses and long-term economic damages that cause grave financial loses to their potential victims. Recent available data indicates that criminals are increasing the number of their victims “consumers” who have suffered from credit card fraud, identity fraud, and related financial losses incurred from such acts. The estimated losses from phishing attacks are now in billions of dollars worldwide and the losses are tremendously growing on daily basis. An urgent action, from concerned entities, to combat this electronic threat is required immediately.
Depending on the type of fraud that a criminal commits with the aid of stolen identifying data, many individuals and or business corporations may lose anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. We are witnessing this every day in many types of e-banking transactions. Phishing also poses a particular threat because techniques used are constantly evolving. For example,” vishing” which is one of the forms of “phishing” involves identity thieves sending an e-mail designed in the same way as a phishing e-mail, yet instead of providing a fraudulent link to click on, the e-mail provides a customer service number that the client must call and is then prompted to “log- in” using
account numbers and passwords.
Alternatively, consumers will be called directly and told that they must call a fraudulent customer service number immediately in order to protect their account. Spear phishing, also, is an e-fraud technique whereby there are e-mails that appear to be genuine and they are sent at the same time to all employees or staff members within a certain company, gov. agency, organization or group. Here, much like a standard phishing e-mail, such message(s) might look like it comes from an employer or from a colleague who might send an e-mail message to everyone in the company, in an attempt to gain log- in information.
Spear phishing scams, are very dangerous and they work to gain access to the company’s entire computer system. The financial sector is the most heavily targeted for phishing schemes and this network spreads to cover leading banks and financial institutions as well as small entities and no one is protected from this new electronic crime going all around the globe and crossing boarders, without being noticed. The short-term effect of these scams is to defraud individuals and financial institutions. It has been noted that in some phishing schemes, criminals were able to convince up to at least 5% of their recipients to respond to their e-mails, resulting in a significant number of consumers who have suffered credit card fraud, identity theft and financial loss.
In the long run phishing may also undermine public trust in the use of the internet for online banking and e-commerce because phishing can make them less likely to use the internet for their business transactions and legitimate commerce communications. Due to the seriousness of this e-crime and the threats to all, we believe that a strong legislative framework is fundamental and required for combating identity theft and other mechanisms and / or methods used to that end such as “phishing” and “vishing”, or any other new name for e-crimes.
The cybercriminal code, e–crimes laws and internet regulations should be revised with the intention of defining and punishing such new trend of e-crimes & e-criminals. Moreover, banks and financial institutions are urgently required to take all technical appropriate measures to defend their systems from such
intruders and trespassers. Cybersecurity is imminent for business survival.
Source: Dr. AbdelGadir Warsama / Legal Counsel / Africanewsanalysis.com