Australians duped out of more than $700 million in online scams

Social networking sites providing fertile ground for new romance and enterprise scams

Tom Powledge, vice president of product management for Symantec's consumer products division, said that while the traditional targets of phishing attacks - financial institutions, payment transaction services and online banking - are still popular, Symantec is seeing phishing emerge as one of the primary threats to social networking sites.

"I think the whole industry has got to catch up with this new phenomenon. Hundreds of millions of users overnight are now adopting new activities. What that means is the hackers are going to evolve - they already are. For example, the Alicia Keys MySpace page was recently hacked. What the hackers are doing is simply going where the people are," he said.

'It's not enough to just secure your computer against viruses - it's about your identity. We've got to make sure that your personal information is secure, that your identity isn't compromised and somebody doesn't steal your credentials."

The recent rise in large corporations and organizations planning to use Facebook as an enterprise social networking tool are also at risk, with high financial assets and sensitive information at stake.

"Lets say they cordon off a section of Facebook that is just for enterprise use, and if you start posting business information and that gets hacked then that could be a real issue."

"It isn't necessarily that Facebook is doing anything wrong, you just have to be careful about what information you put on it," Powledge said.

Most of the malware originates from the US, China and eastern Europe, and very little malicious Web sites are hosted in Australia.

Sylvan believes the amount of money on offer through online fraud and identity theft is even driving criminals away from their usual rackets.

"You can see why the criminal syndicates are even moving away from their traditional areas and into this mass market fraud. It is so lucrative and it's almost impossible to catch them," she said.

More information on the ACFT's Fraud Fortnight can be found here.

To report or find out more about scams visit SCAMwatch

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