In F-Secure : News from the Lab – January of 2007 describe sites that are popping up ising Flash to illicitly gain information about you. This technique (the illicit information gathering, not that it is using Flash) is called Phishing, and while it’s been around a while I am still amazed at the number of people that do not understand what is going on.
The trick is for the Phisher to create a website that looks exactly like a site you would trust complete with a URL that is close enough to the real one to seem legitimate. The website simulates something such as a PayPal login. Some are sophisticated enough that they pass you off to the real site after you have attempted to login, but by then it is too late! The Phisher has your account information and before you know it, your money is gone!
If you, as I, are among those that understand this threat then I encourage you to take the responsibility to educate your family, friends, and when the opportunity presents itself others that you meet or know. If you are having a conversation that is related to computers or the Internet, actively guide it to bring out the facts about Phishing! These Phishers are illegally stealing information from people, and who knows, the next person could be your mother. Add to that the fact that they are becoming more sophisticated all the time and it is a scary thought.
According to the F-Secure article on why Phishers are moving to use flash;
Probably the main to reason to do this is to try to avoid phishing toolbars that analyze page content.
That makes sense. They are immoral punks, but they are also smart punks. Why do they do it you may ask? Because it is big business! They make a lot of money doing it. It is hard for the authorities and the legal system to make a difference, it is just too easy for them to avoid prosecution. A few do find their way into the courts, but it is obviously not much of a deterrent. The best way to fight them, in my opinion, is to make the practice not profitable. Let’s do that by educating people! Tell the ones you know and love about the dangers and how to avoid them! Make a difference!