Study Reveals There Is A 'Golden Hour' For Phishing

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NEW YORK-A study of the attack potency and time-to-infection of e-mail phishing attacks by Trusteer found 50% of phishing victims' credentials are harvested by cyber criminals within the first 60 minutes of phishing e-mails being received.

Given that a typical phishing campaign takes at least one hour to be identified by IT security vendors, which does not include the time required to take down the phishing website, Trusteer has dubbed the first 60 minutes of a phishing site's existence the "Golden Hour." The company said the fact so many Internet users visit a phishing website within such a short period of time means that blocking the site-which sometimes is a cracked legitimate site-within this golden hour has become "absolutely critical." During the golden hour, Trusteer's research suggests:

• More than 50% of stolen credentials are harvested

• Within five hours, more than 80% are collated and become usable by cybercriminals

• The first 10 hours produce more than 90% of the total credentials that will be stolen by any given phishing site

Therefore, the company concluded, blocking a phishing site after five to 10 hours is "almost irrelevant." A more effective model would prevent users from being directed to a phishing site and/or prevent them from entering their credentials if they do end up on a criminal site.

Trusteer said the security industry's goal should be to reduce the time it takes for institutions to detect they are being targeted by a phishing attack from hours to within minutes of the first customer attempting to access a rogue phishing page. "We also need to establish really quick feeds into browsers and other security tools, so that phishing filters can be updated much more quickly than they are today. This is the only way to swiftly takedown phishing websites, protect customers, and eliminate the golden hour," the company said.

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