I just got wind of Mozilla’s next beta release of Firefox. Firefox 2.0 will include, among other things an anti-phishing filter. All I can say is bravo! I have been talking about this with Rafael Ebron for almost two years now - since the very first time he walked into my office. I can’t say what the impetus was for finally making the decision, but without actually getting confirmation, I think the fact that IE7.0 has an anti-phishing filter built into it (using among other things a feed from Mark Monitor), as well as Netscape’s built in tool (using a feed from the Phish Report Network - owned by WholeSecurity which is now owned by Symantec).
Some of the details of Firefox’s anti-phishing technology are found here, here and here for those who are curious. I have not yet tried it out, but I’m eager to. Ultimately, this will be a pretty massive blow to phishing, in my mind and it’s been long needed. These companies who are getting phished have really no recourse. They are the victims and they really have no way to fix the problem. Education hasn’t worked, building toolbars hasn’t worked. So what’s left? The internet has to protect itself. Content filters, email filters (like Thunderbird’s anti-phishing technology), and browser filters are going to provide a massive blow to email and HTTP based phishing vectors. Of course, like anything, the attacks will evolve and move and probably evade all of this detection, but at least for a while it will really force the phishers to re-think their tactics.
I, for one, am really excited to see all this work finally coming to a head. I think the next hurdle is getting a single repository set up for all of this phishing activity. The anti-phishing work group has gotten really far with this, but we’ll have to see how Microsoft’s decision to use Mark Monitor might change that - while Netscape is using Cyota (a competitive take-down service). It might not be perfect, but I think it has come a long way.