Over half of all phishing emails aimed at PayPal users, with eBay accounts not far behind

Criminals target the most widely used systems, while online banks escape the worst of the fraud attacks.

Research from security firm Sophos has shown that over half of all phishing attacks sent over the internet target the online payment service PayPal .

Over 52 per cent of phishing emails detected were for PayPal accounts, with the second most popular target (over 20 per cent of attacks) being aimed at eBay, PayPal's parent company. The remaining attacks were focussed on online banking and credit unions.

"The reason why the phishers focus so much on PayPal and eBay is because they are so popular around the world," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos.

"Although bank customers do also suffer from phishing attacks, they tend to be less likely to have the global reach that these net giants have."

However there is evidence that more phishers are looking at further afield for targets. Last figures from the Anti-Phishing Working Group show that in May phishing attacks reached their highest levels yet, with over 20,000 attacks.

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