Phishing scam emails are looking more authentic and becoming more prevalent than six months ago, according to Rob Forsyth, managing director of Sophos Australia and New Zealand.
Forsyth said the email-based scam messages were increasingly becoming indistinguishable from legitimate email. They had become prevalent, particularly in the wake of the Boxing Day tsunami disaster, he said.
Forsyth said the situation had been complicated by well-meaning charitable organisations asking computer users to perform actions (such as following links from emails and entering personal details) that computer security companies have been trying to warn users against.
In the fight against phishers and scammers, Forsyth suggested that new software was only part of the solution. ISPs, for example, can filter email but it is difficult for technology alone to stop phishers.
In order to properly fight the scammers, new legislation and education was also required, he said.
Forsyth suggested vigilance and a level of cynicism were required when viewing email messages that involve financial transactions. If in doubt, call the sender to validate the email, he advised.