Free Anti-Phishing Tools

Phishing sites attempt to try and trick people into giving over their sensitive details, including their username and passwords to unscrupulous individuals and organisations. These sites can often look identical to the ones you are used to visiting and use very clever tactics in order to tempt people into visiting them. Luckily there are several free anti-phishing tools available including:

Netcraft Toolbar

netcraft toolbar screenshotThe free Netcraft Toolbar is an anti-phishing toolbar which offers a wealth of information about sites you visit. The toolbar resides under the address bar in Internet Explorer and is also available for Firefox. The risk rating on the toolbar moves from green to red depending on how risky the current site you are visiting is. Sites with a risk rating of over 75 per cent red are considered to be very risky and are best avoided.

The risk rating is collated from information based on how old a site is, popularity, where it is based, as well as other factors. Often phishing sites tend to have very little or no history, therefore the age of websites is usually a determining risk factor to take into consideration when evaluating them. The toolbar receives constantly updated information and offers a site report as well as where the current site is hosted.

A pop-up appears when a website has been blocked, allowing you the chance of whether you should enter or not. You can also report a site if you consider it has been 'incorrectly blocked' by using the Netcraft menu. The Netcraft toolbar provides a comprehensive list of information at a glance about any website you visit including risk rating, age, rank, site report, country of origin and hosting details. This enables you to make an informed decision about whether or not a website is fraudulent or may be a phishing site.

McAfee SiteAdvisor

mcafee siteadvisor screenshotMcAfee SiteAdvisor works on the principal of grading sites on a traffic light system. The menu button indicates whether a site is safe (green), risky (yellow) or dangerous (red). The colour system is also repeated in search results which are supported by most major search engines including Google, AOL, Ask and MSN.

By hovering your mouse over the coloured icons in search results you are able to see more information including how many links to red sites each site contains, how may pop-ups they have etc. Sites are graded by McAfee depending on their affiliation to dangerous sites, pop-ups, browser exploits, malware and spam-mails.

SiteAdvisor uses both automated and manual tools in order to establish a constantly updated database of known websites. Users are able to provide feedback of fraudulent sites and site reports document every SiteAdvisor test which has been performed.

SiteAdvisor also uses pop-ups to alert users against phishing sites, and to prevent installation of damaging Active-X controls. McAfee SiteAdvisor is a powerful, easy to use tool that should happily protect you against the threat of phishing and other potentially dangerous websites. Currently available to download free for Internet Explorer and Firefox.

Finjan SecureBrowsing

finjan securebrowsing screenshotFinjan SecureBrowsing works in real-time by analysing a website's code in order to protect you against malicious sites. The colour coding Finjan uses is both available in search results and on website themselves. Green is used to show that a page or link is safe to use, orange indicates a page not scanned and red warns against potential spyware, viruses or other threats.

By hovering your mouse over the coloured icons in search results or on websites themselves a small report is available giving details about the site or link in question. More information is usually available to click on within the pop-up balloons, if required. Finjan works with most major search engines including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Live and is available for both Internet Explorer and Firefox.

Webmail systems such as Gmail, Yahoo mail and Hotmail are also supported as well as popular sites such as Digg, Myspace and Blogger. A further level of protection is offered by pop-up warnings which Finjan SecureBrowsing uses in an attempt to prevent users from entering potentially dangerous websites such as phishing sites.

Finjan SecureBrowsing is a live, real-time scanner of website code. Since it does not depend on a database this ensures that warnings remain current, and protection up-to-date. However, it is worth bearing in mind that phishing sites that do not contain malicious code may not be uncovered by Finjan's code analysis techniques.

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