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Technology

 February 14, 2005
Microsoft, eBay, PayPal, & Visa Join WholeSecurity To Report Phishing

 WholeSecurity, a leading provider of behavioral, on-demand endpoint security solutions, has introduced the Phish Report Network (www.phishreport.net), the Internet industry's first worldwide anti-phishing aggregation service. Initial participants in the new business service include Microsoft, eBay, PayPal, and Visa. The Phish Report Network allows any company being victimized by phishing attacks to immediately and securely report fraudulent Web sites to a central database operated by WholeSecurity. Other companies subscribing to the Phish Report Network can then access the database or receive real-time notifications of known phishing sites, enabling them to more effectively protect consumers by blocking these sites in their user-facing security applications.

Phishing is an act of fraud that involves an attempt by scam artists to steal the identities of Internet users by sending out emails or links to Web pages mimicking popular Web sites. These emails and Web sites commonly ask Internet users to provide sensitive personally identifiable information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, or bank account information. The Anti-Phishing Working Group, a pan-industrial and law enforcement association focused on eliminating fraud resulting from phishing and email spoofing, recently reported a 24 percent month-to-month growth rate in phishing attacks from August to December 2004. Additionally, the organization warned that phishing attack methods are becoming more sophisticated, such as incorporating malicious code into fraudulent Web sites, which could further victimize consumers. Industry experts agree that the escalating phishing problem if unabated could result in significant financial losses.

Using the Phish Report Network's secure service, companies like eBay, PayPal, or Visa enter confirmed phishing sites. Recipients such as Microsoft, other Internet Service Providers (ISPs), or user-facing security vendors obtain the aggregated lists and can incorporate them into various software, email, and browser services to help protect consumers against online fraud. Any company impacted by phishing sites or with the ability to protect end users can participate in the Phish Report Network, based on meeting qualification criteria and adherence to program standards. The aggregation service will become increasingly valuable as additional companies join the Phish Report Network.

"Phishing is the fastest-growing segment of spam being sent worldwide today, victimizing both legitimate online companies whose brands are being hijacked and consumers who are unwittingly providing their personal information to criminals," said Ryan Hamlin, general manager of the Safety Technology and Strategy Group at Microsoft. "The data that the Phish Report Network will provide can help Microsoft immediately better defend our millions of users worldwide against these nefarious phishing attacks."

"eBay and PayPal's participation in the Phish Report Network is one of many steps we have taken to improve security of the e-commerce experience," said Howard Schmidt, eBay and PayPal's chief security strategist and former White House cyber-security advisor. "As we co-develop technologies, educate online users and work with law enforcement, we can help significantly reduce the effect of cyber criminals."

"As a leader in the payments industry, Visa is focused not just on shutting down phishing sites, but preventing phishing emails from ever reaching consumers worldwide," said Tim Lee, vice president of Global E-commerce at Visa. "Working with the participants in this solution, Visa can play a key role in stopping this crime before it happens and in maintaining global consumer confidence online."

"As the industry consolidates to fight the phishing problem, WholeSecurity believes the Phish Report Network will become the cornerstone of these efforts," said J. Peter Selda, chief executive officer of WholeSecurity. "The partnership we have formed with the founding members of the Phish Report Network is an important, groundbreaking step in reestablishing consumers' confidence in online channels."

Phish Report Network Availability:
The Phish Report Network is available immediately. Companies can sign up by visiting www.phishreport.net

Additional Information About Phishing and Online Identity Theft Prevention:

www.antiphishing.org/
www.consumer.gov/idtheft
safety.msn.com/phishing
www.microsoft.com/presspass/safety
pages.ebay.com/securitycenter/stop_spoof_websites.html
www.paypal.com/security
www.visa.com/emailphishing