December 30, 2004 10:03 AM PST
Netcraft goes fishing for phishers
"The Netcraft Toolbar provides you with constantly updated information about the sites you visit as well as blocking dangerous sites," the company, best known for providing statistics on what software Web sites are running, stated in a posting. "This information will help you make an informed choice about the integrity of those sites."
The toolbar displays information about the popularity of a site, the country in which the site is hosted and the Internet address of the site. It also indicates whether other toolbar users have flagged the site as a possible phishing scam, which uses fake Web sites that look like they belong to a trusted provider, such as a bank, to fool people into handing over sensitive personal information.
The effectiveness of the toolbar will largely depend on how widely the software is adopted, Netcraft Director Mike Prettejohn said.
"If the big banks go for branded versions to give to their customers, then (it will be) very effective," he said. "It's only been public for two days, and there is already an effective community of people blocking phishing sites."
The software is available as a plug-in for Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web browser and can be downloaded from Netcraft. A version of the program that runs on the Firefox browser from the Mozilla Foundation is also under development, the company said.
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