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ID threat as phishers continue UK assault

UK is world's second-biggest phishing target

The UK is a global phishing hotspot according to security firm RSA, even though just 3 percent of worldwide attacks originate here.

RSA's Anti-Fraud Command Center for October shows that the UK is the second biggest target for phishing attacks on banks, with UK financial institutions taking a 16 percent share of those attacked worldwide. The UK has been second on the list for nine months in a row, with the the US, which has a 60 percent share, the world's number-one target.

The US also hosted 47 percent of the attacks logged in October, with China second on 22 percent. Just 3 percent of attacks originated in the UK.

RSA also warned that phishers have now begun to use Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), which can be used to produce an effective spoof of a genuine bank website.

IDNs are domain names or web addresses that use local language characters, such as Cyrillic. This means a fraudster can use characters in one language to construct a URL that looks exactly like another.

RSA warned: "For example, Unicode character U+0430, Cyrillic small letter a ("a" ), can look identical to Unicode character U+0061, Latin small letter a, ("a" ) which is the lower case "a" used in English. Therefore, a spoofed phishing domain which is based on an IDN can look exactly like a genuine bank's domain written in standard ASCII code."

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