Phishing alert for Bahrain banks
Manama, March 2, 2010
Bahrain banks and telecom companies are at risk of falling victim to the increasing trend of the online fraud phishing, an expert has warned.
Even though awareness is increasing, it is still lacking, FraudWatch International chief executive officer Trent Youl told the opening of a seminar on phishing and online fraud, at Sheraton Bahrain Hotel.
It was organised by Bahraini information security company Secureitlab, in collaboration with the Australia-based FraudWatch International.
Phishing is acquiring sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity on the Internet.
'Three months ago, we saw between eight and 10 organisations, mainly banks, being targeted in the Middle East by fraudsters. Now the figure is up to 35,' Youl told our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News.
'Some of them, including banks and telecom companies, are based in Bahrain.
'As opposed to around 100 phishing sites we identified three months ago, there are 800 now. They send out millions of e-mails and even if they get a few 'hits', they have made their money.'
Each phishing site rakes in an average of $25,000 (BD9,425) every month, he said.
He said most of the phishing sites either ask people to update their bank accounts or credit card details or offer jobs across the world. 'Many people fall victim to these criminals because they get themselves as 'partners' in channelling the money through legal channels.
He said statistics also revealed that most of the phishing sites were 'hosted' in Eastern Europe or Africa, where it was harder to trace them. The seminar highlighted how phishing is perpetrated, the risks to financial and other companies with an online presence, latest trends in the Middle East and solutions.
Youl also revealed that the company would soon open its Middle East offices in Bahrain to serve the region. 'Formalities are being completed and we should be on stream later this month.'-TradeArabia News Service