Like convenience stores and fast-food restaurants, phishing is no longer a
mom-and-pop operation, according to a study released today.

A single crime syndicate dubbed "Avalanche" was responsible for some 66
percent of the phishing traffic generated in the second half of 2009, according
to a report published by the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG).

"Avalanche" is the name given to the world’s most prolific phishing gang and
to the infrastructure it uses to host phishing sites, according to APWG. "This
criminal enterprise perfected a system for deploying mass-produced phishing
sites, and for distributing malware that gives the gang additional capabilities
for theft," the study says.

Avalanche successfully targeted some 40 banks and online service providers,
as well as vulnerable or nonresponsive domain name registrars and registries, in
the second half of 2009, according to APWG.

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