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PIRT Brings Down Phishing Sites To Help Limit Damage

Security researchers can progressively minimize phishing damage.

A major example of such limitation is the performance by PIRT (Phishing Incident Reporting & Termination Squad). One-year old PIRT came into being by the joint efforts of world privacy and security community, CastelCops and security enabler, Sunbelt Software. Since then PIRT has been specializing in deactivating phishing websites to prevent large-scale victims.

Phishing attacks keep changing as criminals build new strategies with added refinement, so that they can remain one step ahead of online banking customers and the security specialists.

In 2006, phishing scams also widened and targeted on diverse victims. They targeted 942 institutions in all. These included banks and credit unions, e-commerce retailers, online payment gateways, ISPs, social networking sites, government agencies and online games.

With PIRT in right form and action, it has yielded great results, as it is possible to cripple phishing sites much quickly than before, said Alex Eckelberry, president of Sunbelt. Banknet360 published this on April 30, 2007.

The 15 voluntary security researchers at PIRT have sharpened the required limit to bring down a phishing website to a short period of just 11 minutes. Normally, the time it takes is two hours due to phishing notices' volume received by the organization, Robin Laudanski, team leader of PIRT said.

By jointly working with 70%-75% of world ISPs and law enforcement agencies, PIRT said its members could successfully dismantle phishing websites that U.S.-based as well as global Internet service providers host.

There have been instances when some countries brought down sites very fast. Some take even less than 24 hours with very quick time differences, Laudanski said. Banknet360 published this on April 30, 2007.

According to PIRT, credit unions and banks are phishers' foremost targets. Laudanski said several banks responded to PIRT's efforts. Next in order of phishing targets are online financial services firms like PayPal while eBay is their third preferred target.

Following PIRT's success, CastleCops has developed MIRT- malware Incident Reporting & Termination, and also SIRT- Spam Incident Reporting & Termination to similarly fight spam and malware.

Related article: Pirate Bay Charges Top Media Players for Sabotage

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