AOL files lawsuits against alleged phishing gangs

February 28, 2006 Sophos Press Release

Phishers steal money and confidential data from internet users. Image copyright (c) Sophos
Phishers steal money and confidential data from internet users.

Experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global network of virus, spyware and spam analysis centers, have warned users about the international threat posed by organized identity theft criminals as AOL announces it is filing lawsuits against three alleged phishing gangs.

AOL is seeking combined damages of $18 million in three civil suits it has filed in Virginia, charging phishing gangs with stealing personal information via bogus websites. The gangs are believed to reside in the United States, Germany and Romania and are said to have created hundreds of fake websites posing as real online companies.

"Phishing is an international problem, with gangs around the world working to steal the identities of millions of innocent people," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "It's good to see ISPs like AOL fighting back against the phishers, but we also need all computer users to take greater care about which websites they visit, and to who they give confidential information."

Earlier this month, Sophos revealed in a survey that 58% of people receive a phishing email each day.

Sophos recommends companies protect themselves with a consolidated solution which can defend businesses from the threats of both spam and viruses; and that users do not open or reply to unsolicited emails.

Organizations concerned about being fraudulently represented in phishing campaigns can sign up to the Sophos early warning system, Sophos PhishAlert.