Cybersquatting - the act of registering a web address with the intention of selling it on to make profit - rose by 18 percent last year compared to 2008, said MarkMonitor.

Research by the internet fraud protection firm revealed there were 1.7 million reported incidents of cybersquatting in 2008. The company also highlighted that 80 percent of the sites reported as 'abusive' in 2007 were still accessible by web users this year.

"That 80 percent of sites identified in our study remain active today confirms that abuse is economically sustainable for fraudsters," said Frederick Felman, chief marketing officer for MarkMonitor.

MarkMonitor also said that in the second half of 2009, phishing attacks on online payment systems were 122 percent up on the first half of the year. The company also urged businesses to be wary of websites with similar or mis-spelt names in the URL.

These websites or 'false association' attacks are designed to dupe web users into visiting offensive pages or those that will encourage them to download malware to their PC.

See also:

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