Phishing attacks will use more sophisticated social engineering, targeting consumers for financial and identity theft and businesses for intellectual property theft.
This is the main conclusion of the August 2006 global malware report released today by security firm MessageLabs.
The days of crude phishing emails which consumers have learned to spot are coming to a close, warns the report.
Cyber-criminals are now developing personalised approaches that ape legitimate businesses' customer relationship management techniques, or 'victim relationship management'.
"The latest wave of phishing attacks uses social engineering techniques by harvesting personal data from social networking sites like MySpace," said Mark Sunner, chief technical officer at MessageLabs.
"You will be sent an email personally addressed to you from your bank with your correct address and postcode."
MessageLabs has detected a steady increase in this kind of attack since December 2005.
Spam and virus outbreaks are flat overall, barely increasing or slightly decreasing since last month, the report found.
This is to be expected, according to Sunner, because virus outbreaks are almost directly proportional to spam attacks.
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