November 17, 2005 12:38 PM PST

Microsoft enlists new buddies for antiphishing trip

Microsoft said Thursday that it has added three data providers in its effort to help customers thwart the information-stealing attacks that involve a technique known as phishing.

The software maker said it has struck deals with Cyota, Internet Identity and MarkMonitor, each of which will provide Microsoft with regular updates on confirmed phishing Web sites. The information will be used in a variety of Microsoft products, including its Internet Explorer browser, its Hotmail e-mail program and in Windows Live.

Microsoft has already partnered with WholeSecurity to create a blacklist of known phishing sites.

Phishing scams, which seek to get users to hand over personal information such as their username and password, have emerged as a significant menace. They are seen as a threat to the growth of e-commerce and other online services, such as banking.

"There is of course no silver bullet that can stop phishing," John Scarrow, the general manager of Microsoft's antispam and antiphishing team, said in a statement.

Scarrow added that Microsoft is "excited to be working with leading companies like Cyota, Internet Identity and MarkMonitor to better protect our MSN and Windows Live and Windows customers and help them feel more confident in their online safety."

In addition, Microsoft said it has released a final version of its antiphishing plug-in for the MSN Toolbar. A test version of that feature was released in August. The company is also building antiphishing features into Internet Explorer 7, the new version of its browser, which is currently in limited beta testing.

Meanwhile, Cyota said separately on Thursday that two banks--ING Direct and the Royal Bank of Canada--are using its technology to protect against phishing and other threats.

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