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09 Mar 2006

College student to appear in court on phishing charges

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 and spam analysis centers, have warned computer users to be wary of phishing emails that pretend to come from eBay, following the arrest of a Californian student suspected of phishing.

According to media reports, a Californian college student is scheduled to appear in court today in connection with a phishing campaign which is alleged to have tried to steal personal information from 30,000 people.

20-year-old Ali Shekarfroush, of Riverside Community College in California, was arrested on Tuesday 7 March at the University Village theater in Riverside. According to a news release by the Riverside County Sherriff's Department the arrest was a result of a 14 month investigation by its high-tech crime taskforce.

It is claimed that Shekarfroush sent emails posing as messages from the online auction website eBay, directing recipients to a bogus website in an attempt to steal credentials.

"It's not just online banks who suffer from criminals sending phishing emails designed to fool the public into thinking its a legitimate communication. PayPal and eBay are amongst the most popular targets, and they have published advice on their websites to help tell the difference between a real and bogus email," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Computer users need to become more savvy when it comes to protecting themselves from phishing and other types of attack via email."

Last 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 spam, spyware and viruses.

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

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.