Phishing sites, which masquerade as genuine websites to steal users’ personal information, are on the rise in Hong Kong, Microsoft warned on Thursday.
Some 6.23 phishing sites were found per 1,000 hosts in the fourth quarter last year, up from 6.01 in the third quarter, according to Microsoft’s latest Security Intelligence Report.
However, the number of malware infections remained low in the same period. Every 1,000 computers had 2.2 malware infections on average, the report found.
Tim Rains, director of product management in Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing group, said the rise could be because Hong Kong is a financial centre and phishing sites masquerade as banking websites to steal information.
“The fact that we have a low malware infection rate in Hong Kong, but slightly elevated level of phishing is actually interesting,” he said.
He said the reason could be that the attackers were using a smaller number of compromised systems in Hong Kong to do more phishing than other attacks.
Roy Ko Wai-tak, manager of Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Centre, said websites of small and medium enterprises were often hijacked by attackers to build phishing sites – which pose as big corporations – because of poor cyber security.
Rains also said the most common malware is called keygen, which comes with key generators that produce serial numbers required to run piracy software. Ko said it showed that Hong Kong people still continue to use piracy software.
The report, which also found that 2.5 out of 10 computers on average did not have up-to-date antivirus software in the city, was based on data from over 600 million computers worldwide using Microsoft’s products. The number of Hong Kong computers was unknown at the time of going to press.