The number of domain names registered for phishing attacks doubled in the first half of the year, according to the latest data from the Anti-Phishing Working Group.
The APWG identified 53,685 phishing domains, of which 12,173 are believed to have been registered by phishers. The remainder belonged to compromised web servers.
This 12,173 number — up from 5,835 in the year-ago period — is the important one for the domain name industry, as it is there that registries and registrars have the ability to make a difference.
“The increase is due to a sudden uptick in domain registrations by Chinese phishers,” the APWG said in its Domain Name Use and Trends 1H2013 report (pdf). Chinese targets accounted for 8,240 (68%) of the registered domains.
This works out to about 66 maliciously registered domains per day on average, or less than half a percent of the total number of domains registered across all TLDs daily.
According to the APWG, the number of phishing domains that actually contain a brand or a variation of a brand is smaller still, at 1,244. That’s flat on the second half of 2012.
It works out to about seven new trademark-infringing phishing domain names per day that a brand owner somewhere in the world (though probably China) has to deal with.
APWG reiterated what it has said in previous reports:
most maliciously registered domain names offered nothing to confuse a potential victim. Placing brand names or variations thereof in the domain name itself is not a favored tactic, since brand owners are proactively scanning Internet zone files for their brand names. As we have observed in the past, the domain name itself usually does not matter to phishers, and a domain name of any meaning, or no meaning at all, in any TLD, will usually do. Instead, phishers often place brand names in subdomains or subdirectories.