October 5, 2005 12:19 PM PDT

AOL notches up barrier against phishers

America Online is strengthening its shields against phishing attacks for its 20 million Internet service subscribers.

The Web giant announced Wednesday that it has expanded its agreement with antiphishing specialist Cyota and signed new partnerships with security technology companies MarkMonitor and Cyveillance.

The deals provide its customers with "multiple layers of invisible protection against phishing attacks," the Dulles, Va.-based Internet service provider said in a statement.

The protection measures aim to prevent AOL members from falling for phishing scams by blocking access. AOL and its partners will scan the Web for fraudulent sites, analyze suspicious URLs, check new domain registrations and attempt to remove phishing sites from the Web, the company said.

Phishing scams typically combine spam e-mail with fraudulent Web sites to trick people into giving up sensitive information such as user names, passwords, credit card details and Social Security numbers. A total of 14,135 campaigns like this were reported in July, according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group.

AOL's new defenses are already in place and, combined with the ISP's existing shields, avert about 8 million phishing attempts against members each day, the company said.

The ISP, a subsidiary of Time Warner, is not alone in providing phishing protection to its customers. Rival EarthLink on Tuesday updated its security defenses with the release of its Protection Control Center, a bundle of tools that promise to safeguard members against viruses, spyware and phishing attempts as well as a firewall.

In addition to protection offered by ISPs, several companies, including Microsoft and Netcraft, offer browser toolbars to defend against phishing attacks.

 

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