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Anti-ID theft initiative

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Microsoft, eBay and Visa have formed the Phish Report Network to better protect consumers against identity theft attacks.

Phishing attacks are usually based on scam emails that try to trick users into handing over their account details and passwords to bogus sites. The collected details are used for credit card fraud and identity theft. The network will collect and share information about these attacks with its members, and issue alerts when new attacks emerge, the companies said.

To report a phishing attack, an organisation must subscribe to the network as a "sender", before submitting details about their experience. The idea is that this information will build into a database, operated by WholeSecurity, that the so-called "receivers", usually ISPs, webhosts or spam blockers, can use to put better defences in place. Ultimately this will lead to better protection for consumers, according to the Phish Report Network.

The Anti-Phishing Work Group says that phishing activity is continuing to rise. It reported a 24 per cent month-on-month rise in attacks between August and December 2004, with a ten per cent increase in December alone. It said 1,700 phishing sites were reported as active at the end of last year.

The Phish Report Network press release is here. ®

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