PhishTank was launched last month by start-up OpenDNS to fight fraud and botnets at the DNS level, while also speeding up web and email transfers. It allows anyone to submit fishy looking web addresses, which are then validated by community members. OpenDNS allows developers to use the phishing data for browser toolbars and the like via an API.
The site collected just over 7,000 submissions in October, with 3,678 validated as scam sites via a total of 93,531 user votes. Users invalidated 878 submitted sites and a further 2,505 went offline before they could be checked, PhishTank said. On average, the validation process took 18 minutes, the company said.
The top sites impersonated were PayPal and eBay, unsurprisingly, followed by a list of banks around the world - Barclays, Fifth Third Bank, Volksbanken Raiffeisenbanken, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Key Bank, JPMorgan Chase and Co. and Citibank.
The US was the top country hosting the sites, accounting for 24 percent of them, followed by South Korea at 14 percent, India at eight percent and China at six percent. Britain and Germany tied, hosting four percent each.
PhishTank also tracked IP addresses to the networks hosting them, and found that the top host network was South Korea's Hanaro Telecom, which hosted 469 of the sites. India's National Internet Backbone followed with 333 sites, with other top networks including Telesc Telecomunicacoes de Santa Catarina, Emcatel, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad y Telecom, Cqnet Chongqing Broadband Networks, Futures Cable Television, Savvis Savvi, Cantv Servicios and MobiFon.
Some of the validated sites used numerical IP addresses, but others used domains, including lugers.biz, web.com and loreta.biz.
Spammers and fraudsters have been getting more ingenious with their methods for bypassing users' and companies' defences. Last week, McAfee revealed that spammers have begun co-opting the top-level domains (TLDs) of obscure island nations as a new tactic to avoid spam filters.
On Monday, Postini said it had processed nearly 70 billion email connections from September to November, and had seen a 59 percent spike in spam over the period. Junk email is now 91 percent of all email, with levels rising 120 percent over the past 12 months.
There was also an overall increase in email traffic, which rose by 10 billion messages between October and September, Postini said.