Google, Yahoo Unites to Deal with Phishing

Google, Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft have united to fight against sources of phishing, the emails that try to deceive users into giving up their personal information.

The companies in collaboration with the financial services providers, Including Bank of America and Fidelity Investments has formed DMARC.org, also called Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance, a technical specification that will offer consistent authentication results across Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail and AOL.

The group blames the increase of phishing on the growth of social media along with certain of other aspects, on its website.

“With the rise of the social Internet and the ubiquity of e-commerce, spammers and phishers have a tremendous financial incentive to compromise user accounts, enabling theft of passwords, bank accounts, credit cards, and more,” reads an explanation on the group’s site. “Email is easy to spoof and criminals have found spoofing to be a proven way to exploit user trust of well-known brands. Simply inserting the logo of a well known brand into an email gives it instant legitimacy with many users.”

SPF and DKIM are the two preexisting authentication screening mechanisms introduced by DMARC. These methods are considered in compliance with industry standard. To implement them through Gmail and other email services, senders need to authenticate their emails. The consequence of this is that the email receivers will be sure about the email. For instance, an email from IRS.gov will ensure users that it is actually from Internal Revenue Service. In addition to this, if anyone trying to use the domain for phishing emails, IRS will be notified.

A McAfee consultant and identify theft expert, Robert Siciliano said that most of the phishing emails have already been intercepted and thrown in users’ spam folders.

He says, “What they’re trying to accomplish now is to eliminate them from your spam folder, noting that some users still click on such emails even when they’re labeled as spam. The fact is, there’s a sucker born every minute. A non-sophisticated user will be a target until all phishing emails are eliminated.”

He further adds that he is pretty hopeful that DMARC will be able to achieve this if “Its coordinated efforts like this that could actually solve this problem.”

All the same, Siciliano also warns here that clicking on a URL inside an email will still not be a good idea, even if DMARC is successful in their task. He means that whenever you received an email, to say, from Bank of America, use the main site to find your link. He also says, “The bad guys are like ants. They’re very consistent and find their way through.”

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