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Phishers go fishing in July

The number of "phishing" incidents in which Internet users are tricked into giving up personal information was down slightly in July, according to a new report.

A total of 14,135 unique phishing campaigns were reported in July, according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group. That is down from 15,050 a month earlier, the group said in a report Tuesday. In phishing attacks, fraudulent Web sites are used to trick Internet users into giving up sensitive information such as credit card details and social security numbers. The number of attacks has been increasing steadily, with slight drops only in April and December. July's decrease could just be a summer dip, an APWG representative said.

While fewer phishing attacks were seen in July, the attacks are getting more sophisticated. Phishers are increasingly adding malicious software to their Web sites that is installed surreptitiously on the computers of unsuspecting users. This software captures keystrokes or screenshots and sends those to the attacker. In July there were 918 phishing Web sites hosting malicious code, up from 526 in June and 495 in May, according to the APWG.