Individual businesses should brace themselves to be directly in the line of fire from phishing attacks, according to a new report.
The findings, published by MessageLabs, suggest that as more companies find themselves singled out as victims of online identity theft the increase could herald the beginning of a wider trend.
Mark Sunner, chief technology officer at the managed email services provider, said phishers were increasingly crafting their attacks towards harming individual targets, rather than random entities.
"Already particular businesses are threatened and blackmailed, indicating a shift from the random, scattergun approach to customised attacks designed to take advantage of the perceived weaknesses of some businesses," Sunner warned.
And, according to MessageLabs, the worst is yet to come. Evidence points to malicious codes, such as trojans, being created specifically to imperil particular enterprises. With such developments, Sunner cautioned, the perpetrators of online identity theft could only gather force.
"Email security attacks remain unabated in their persistence and ferocity," Sunner said. "The major development of the year has undoubtedly been the emergence of phishing -- in just 12 months it has firmly established itself as a threat to any organisation or individual conducting business online."