A report from MarkMonitor, a company that looks at crime on the Internet, claims that cybersquatting and phishing attacks are on the up.

MarkMonitor’s Spring 2008 BrandJacking Index found that on average, almost half a million instances of online brand abuse were measured each week including 402,882 accounts of cybersquatting.

This is when domain names are registered containing a brand, slogan or trademark to which the registrant has no right - so basically is a con to get people to visit a website.

And worryingly, phishing attacks have seen an 8% rise since the last quarter of 2007.

In particular, the report looked at online travel scams and found that "brandjackers" are using online auctions to sell unusable airline vouchers to trick cost-conscience consumers out of their money.

They then phish for information and spam to infect their victims' computers with spyware.

Irfan Salim, CEO of MarkMonitor says brands need to take action. "Unfortunately, online criminals and scam artists find the Internet full of opportunities to line their pockets at the expense of leading brands and customer trust".

"If brandholders don’t move aggressively to protect their brands and their value chains from online risks, they put their customers, reputations and revenues at risk."