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Phishing Filters and Toolbars

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Phishing filters and toolbars are designed to protect the web surfer from socially engineered phishing scams which try to trick the intended victim into visiting a fraudulent website disguised to look like a valid eCommerce or banking site. The victim thinks they are logging into their real account, but instead everything they enter on the fake site is being sent to the scammers. Armed with this information, the scammer can wipe out the victim's accounts, run up their credit cards, or even steal their identity. Use one of these phishing filters when browsing to help prevent being fooled by a phishing scam.

Netcraft Anti-Phishing Toolbar

The Netcraft Anti-Phishing Toolbar is a community-based reporting iniative which gives higher weight to reports from expert or highly trusted users. This helps ensure rapid discovery and prevention of newly discovered phishing sites while lowering the potential for false positives. The Netcraft Anti-Phishing Toolbar runs under Internet Explorer or Firefox. The Netcraft Anti-Phishing Toolbar also provides risk ratings for all sites you visit, as well as the physical location of each.

Firefox Phishing Filter

Firefox 2.0 and above includes a built-in phishing filter licensed from Google that is enabled by default. The premise is that if you attempt to visit a known phishing site, the built-in filter is supposed to block access by serving a warning page that alerts "Reported Web Forgery". You can then choose to "Ignore this warning" and proceed at your own risk, or you can select either "Get me out of here" or get additional info by selecting "Why was this site blocked". Unfortunately, the Firefox phishing filter is hit or miss (and more miss than hit). For more robust protection, use the Netcraft Anti-Phishing Toolbar instead.

Microsoft Phishing Filter

The Microsoft phishing filter is built into Internet Explorer v7, but it is not enabled by default. You can choose to enable it during the installation of IE7, or you can enable it post-installation by selecting Phishing Filter from the Internet Explorer 7 Tools menu and choosing "Turn on Automatic Website Checking".

Google Safe Browsing Toolbar for Firefox

The Google Safe Browsing Toolbar for Firefox was eventually licensed by Mozilla and is included in Firefox v2.0 and above. As noted in the Firefox Phishing Filter description, the Google provided phishing filter isn't as effective as other available phishing filters such as the Netcraft Anti-Phishing Toolbar.

PhishTank: OpenDNS

OpenDNS provides alternate free DNS servers which happen to incorporate the PhishTank API, a collaborative anti-phishing iniative intended to block access to known phishing sites. Effectively, the phishing filter appears to be on par with the Google Safe Browsing aka Firefox Phishing Filter. If looking for phishing protection, you'll likely be better off installing the Netcraft Anti-Phishing Toolbar instead.

Opera Phishing Filter

The Opera phishing filter is dubbed Opera Fraud Protection and is included in version 9.5+. Opera Fraud Protection offers the most extensive protection against phishing, doing a triple check of sites against phishing blacklists from Netcraft, PhishTank, and Haute Security. This can make Opera's lookup of pages take a split second longer than other browsers, but with the added bonus of a triple layer of protection against phishing scams.
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