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PhishTank System – System To Catch Phish

The Internet community has initiated a new service to fight e-mail frauds by which anyone can submit doubted scams and can also make it open for voting by others.

Web Company "OpenDNS" launched PhishTank (www.phishtank.com) on October 2, 2006. It is a free, user-friendly community website where registered users can enter details of what they think are phishing sites. The site also enables to verify, track and share phishing data.

OpenDNS, a DNS provider belongs to 'Freedom Networks LLC' and furnishes free directory services required to convert website's domain name into its original numeric IP address. The system is developed to help the users by blocking phishing sites. phishing sites appear genuine but are scams to collect banking passwords and other financial information of the user.

The launch of PhishTank happens together with 'National Cyber Security Awareness Month', an annual effort to familiarize with Internet crime and spread knowledge about cyber security and crime prevention.

The PhishTank site has a sophisticated voting system that encourages the community to vote "phish" or "not phish". This reduces the chances of 'false positives' and improves the overall accumulation of phishing data. An item that gets a large number of votes is rated as a phishing message. To keep away scammers from manipulating this system, it weighs the votes on the basis of the duration, frequency and accuracy rated to other messages.
David Ulevitch, the CEO of the company, said that the lists of phishing sites he received were not very good. He found that users simply submit to Phishtank.com sites, that don't really qualify as scam. He added that Phishtank was launched with the belief that community could do better collectively, that too, without charges.

PhishTank opens all the phishing data it accumulates to the public via programmable APIs. This has two benefits - one, the software developers can integrate the anti-phishing data into their tools. And second, it encourages information sharing that increases the chances of removing phishing altogether.

From the collected data, more than 300 messages were confirmed as scam as on October 4, 2006. The free access to the data encourages rival companies to use it.


Related article: Postini Alleges Major Virus Attacks Promotes Global Spam Growth

» SPAMfighter News - 10/11/2006

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