Brands that are adopted by phishers to hoodwink web users can have their reputation seriously damaged, according to a new study by YouGov.

Yet web users don’t point the finger at companies when it comes to protecting consumers against such attacks.

Forty two percent of respondents to the survey, conducted on behalf of security firm Cloudmark, said their trust in a brand would be “greatly reduced” if they received a phishing email purporting to be from that firm.

But at the same time, two thirds said the greatest responsibility for protection lay with ISPs, email service providers or web users themselves.

Neil Cook, UK technology chief at Cloudmark, said:

“Earlier this year we conducted research into the effect that phishing has on the individual that found consumers were still extremely concerned about falling victim to such a scam. What is interesting to note from these results is that well-known brands are also suffering, with phishing attacks having a detrimental effect on their reputation.”

The figures will not be good reading for NatWest in particular, which Cloudmark says was the ‘most phished brand’ in the UK during October.

But with attacks becoming more common in the UK, and brands being affected, what can they do to limit the damage?

Three things were mentioned at our recent Email Marketing Roundtable – develop more secure ways to identify emails to customers, promote awareness and avoid sending out large volumes of messages.

Related research:

Email Marketing Roundtable Briefing, October 2007

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