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Fri Dec 9 2005 12:32:18

Phishing: Why It's Hard to Stop Hoax Emails

By: Ina Steiner

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I subscribe to a number of email newsletters, and a must-read if you are interested in Internet issues is Michael Geist's BNA's Internet Law News. Yesterday's newsletter (12/8/05) links to two stories that are worth noting.

The first says "About one in four Internet users are hit with e-mail scams every month that try to lure sensitive personal information from unsuspecting consumers." (Read entire article here.)

The second says, "An estimated 2.31 million internet domain names have been registered with "patently false" data, a US congressional report has concluded." (Read entire article here.)

It's pretty hard to stop phishing emails if it's so easy to register domain names using false information (and stolen credit-card information). The other part of the story is the free web-hosting services where people register using false information.

It would help if services were required to send a paper receipt to the addresses of the people supposedly registering these accounts along with information on what to do if they hadn't really ordered the services, though a lot of damage could still be done in the time it takes to find the problem.

Even if we cracked down in the U.S., a scammer could register a domain name and sign up for a web-hosting service in any other country in the world. It's a global problem, and I don't see any kind solution for the short term. So beware of hoax emails, I think they are going to be here for a long time.

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