January 19, 2009

Microsoft: Phishing losses greatly over-estimated

Seen on the net:

09 Jan 2009 14:21

Phishers make much less from their scams than analysts have estimated, according to research from the software maker. The financial losses experienced by victims of phishing scams may be up to 50 times less than estimated by analysts, according to a Microsoft study. Previous studies by organisations such as Gartner, which in 2007 estimated US phishing losses at $3.2bn (2bn), "crumble upon inspection", Microsoft researchers said in their report, published on Tuesday.

Nevertheless, stories of easy money may be encouraging a phishing "gold rush" effect, where large numbers of newcomers enter the phishing business expecting huge returns, only to be preyed upon by more experienced phishers, according to A Profitless Endeavor: Phishing as Tragedy of the Commons.

The study, undertaken by Microsoft researchers Cormac Herley and Dinei Florencio, also suggests there is less profit than thought in phishing because there is only a limited number of people who will be fooled by the scams, and that pool gets smaller as the scams claim victims.

"Phishing is a classic example of tragedy of the commons, where there is open access to a resource that has limited ability to regenerate," the authors say in their report. "Since each phisher independently seeks to maximise his return, the resource is over-grazed and [on average] yields far less than it is capable of." Instead of getting a maximum return for a minimum effort, the majority of phishers make a weekly wage of hundreds, rather than thousands, of dollars, the researchers said.

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No comment from here, because I haven't read the source as yet.

Posted by iang at January 19, 2009 05:10 PM | TrackBack
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