Cloudmark's anti-spam brief awarded to Firefly

Firefly has been handed a six-figure 'anti-spam' PR campaign as the problem of fraudulent 'phishing' on the internet reaches an all-time high.

Virus protection software firm Cloudmark has given Firefly a media and analyst relations programme in the UK and German markets, targeting audiences in the ISP, mobile telecoms and social networking industries.

Cloudmark, based in San Francisco, operates a scanning system that can check more than 5,000 messages per second, protecting more than 600 million internet users from phishing attacks. Cloudmark's Desktop software earned plaudits from computing title PC Magazine for successfully blocking spam while leaving valid emails alone.

Internet scams such as phishing represent a growing problem for the security industry as fake websites and unsolicited emails from fraudsters continue to extract money from unwitting web users.

High profile phishing cons of recent years include the much-publicised 2007 case of a California man who sent thousands of emails that he had engineered to look like they were from AOL's billing department. 

He prompted AOL customers to reply with personal details and credit card numbers, using their information to make unauthorised purchases.

Last week, computer site Techworld reported that UK phishing attacks have doubled in the first quarter of 2008, with payment group Apacs recording more than 10,000 incidents since January. 

Increasingly, fraudsters are moving to mobile messaging and VoIP, with phishing via text message or with programmes such as Skype becoming commonplace.

Recent legislation means that web fraudsters convicted of phishing can receive a maximum of 101 years in jail.

'The growing problem of phishing on the internet, unsolicited messages on mobiles and in social networks unfortunately means that this is an expanding market,' said Firefly MD Mark Mellor.

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