Updated Anti-Phishing Toolbar Assesses Risk

Software from research firm Netcraft might help blunt phishing attacks, which one security company says are on the decline while continuing to threaten millions of users.

Netcraft has announced the release of an updated version of its anti-phishing (define) toolbar for Internet Explorer. The software is used to block known phishing sites, and allows more experienced users to identify and report newly discovered sites. Netcraft says 5,600 phishing sites have been detected and blocked since it first released the software in January.

Phishing Resources at ENP

The new version adds to the software’s capabilities by making it easier to install without Administrator privileges, and includes a “Risk Rating” meter that allows users to assess how likely a newly encountered Web site is to be a phishing site. Netcraft said the toolbar can also be customized with corporate logos and navigational links for financial organizations and ISPs.

In addition to providing protection for Web surfers, data submitted via the toolbar and validated by Netcraft is made available for sale as feed data for proxy mail servers, so the efforts of phishing site reporters can be replicated for protection against phishing e-mails.

The software update arrived as Postini, an e-mail security and management company, reported that April saw a 45 percent month-to-month decrease in phishing attacks against its users, with its security software blocking 9 million phishing mails.

Other security issues reported on by Postini included directory harvest attacks (DHAs), which remained steady during the month of April; and virus-infected messages, which decreased by 30 percent, echoing a similar finding by McAfee last month. Postini reported that of the 4.9 billon messages its software processed in April, only 13 percent were legitimate.

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