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Go Phish

Techie item from Internet Week:

E-mail phishing attacks jumped over 400 percent during the holidays, according to an analysis released Wednesday of scams reported to clearinghouse Anti-Phishing.org.

Phishing, the term used to describe malignant e-mail posing as legitimate messages from banks, retailers, and credit card companies, soared in November and December as scammers took advantage of the holiday rush to try to trick users into divulging personal and financial information.

With a little 20/20 hindsight, the phishing increase is easy to predict.

I saw a report on one of the business shows last week that online holiday shopping increased 46% over last year. Whether that was due to an improving economy, the weekend blizzards in the northeast, or just because people are getting more used to the Internet -- we'll never know. But whatever the reason, you can bet a good portion of that increase was due to first-time internet shoppers, the kind of people most likely to fall for a phishing scam.

And the scammers knew it, too.