Anti-phishing software

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Anti-phishing software consists of computer programs that attempt to identify phishing content contained in websites and e-mail. It is often integrated with web browsers and email clients as a toolbar that displays the real domain name for the website the viewer is visiting, in an attempt to prevent fraudulent websites from masquerading as other legitimate web sites. Anti-phishing functionality may also be included as a built-in capability of some web browsers.

Password managers can also be used to help defend against phishing.

Client-based anti-phishing programs[edit]

Cloud-based anti-phishing services[edit]

Phishing blocker solutions[edit]

  • CryptoPhoto - Blocks phishing and neutralizes malware via app-based mutual authentication.

Anti-phishing effectiveness[edit]

A study[1] conducted by 3Sharp released on September 27, 2006 tested the ability of eight anti-phishing solutions to block known phishing sites, warn about phishing sites, and allow good sites. The study, which was commissioned by Microsoft and titled "Gone Phishing: Evaluating Anti-Phishing Tools for Windows", concluded that Internet Explorer and Netcraft Toolbar were the most effective anti-phishing tools.

A later independent study,[2] conducted by Carnegie Mellon University CyLab titled "Phinding Phish: An Evaluation of Anti-Phishing Toolbars", released November 13, 2006, tested the ability of ten anti-phishing solutions to block known or warn about phishing sites, not block or warn about legitimate sites, as well as usability testing of each solution. Of the solutions tested, Netcraft Toolbar, EarthLink ScamBlocker and SpoofGuard were able to correctly identify over 75% of the sites tested, with Netcraft Toolbar receiving the highest score, without incorrectly identifying legitimate sites as phishing. Severe problems were however discovered using SpoofGuard, and it incorrectly identified 38% of the tested legitimate sites as phishing, leading to the conclusion that "It would seem that such inaccuracies might nullify the benefits SpoofGuard offers in identifying phishing sites.". Google Safe Browsing (which has since been built into Firefox) and Internet Explorer both performed well, but when testing ability to detect fresh phishes Netcraft Toolbar scored as high 96%, while Google Safe Browsing scored as low as 0%, possibly due to technical problems with Google Safe Browsing. The testing was performed using phishing data obtained from Anti-Phishing Working Group, PhishTank and an unnamed email filtering vendor.

The latest study,[3] conducted by SmartWare for Mozilla, released November 14, 2006, concluded that the anti-phishing filter in Firefox was more effective than Internet Explorer by more than 10%. The results of this study have been questioned by critics,[4] criticising that the testing data was sourced exclusively from PhishTank, itself an anti-phishing provider. The study only compared Internet Explorer and Firefox, and left out among others Netcraft Toolbar and the Opera browser, both of which use data from PhishTank in their anti-phishing solutions. This has led to speculations that, with the limited testing data, both Opera and Netcraft Toolbar would have gotten a perfect score had they been part of the study.[5]

While the two later reports were released only one day apart, Asa Dotzler, Director of Community Development at Mozilla, has responded to the criticism of the Mozilla-commissioned report by saying "..so you're agreeing that the most recent legitimate data puts Firefox ahead. Good enough for me."[6]

Since these studies were conducted, both Microsoft and Opera Software have started licensing Netcraft's anti-phishing data, bringing the effectiveness of their browser's built-in anti-phishing on par with Netcraft Toolbar and beyond.

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