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A Dispatch

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July 01, 2005

Bank Mergers and Phishers

Oh my goodness! It appears that Bank of America is buying MBNA, a huge credit card issuing company. I know I've received phishing messages purporting to come from Bank of America (BofA) and MBNA, desperately trying to obtain my mother's maiden name and my shoe size.

For each institution, the phisher has to come up with a dummy email message and Web site. Ideally (from the phisher's perspective), the email message and Web site need to replicate the look and feel of real correspondence and sites of the institutions. This takes some work—a little HTML, maybe a little CSS and JavaScript. And expert use of Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V.

But this merger stuff is going to kill the business for the 16-year olds who are creating the phony message and Web site formats that go into the phishing kits. I mean, for each merger, some kid has fewer bogus HTML email messages and sites to concoct. What are these kids going to do instead? It'll be like the Dot-Bomb era all over again. Hordes of unemployed Web coders roaming the streets. Desperate ones will make handmade cardboard signs reading "Will Phish for Phood."

This merger business is going to be ugly.

Posted on July 01, 2005 at 05:01 PM