Google, Yahoo! join security firm in fight against phishing

April 14, 2010 at 3:18 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO, April 14 (UPI) -- It was initially known simply as identity fraud for financial gain but, as phishing goes global with damaging consequences for public and private finances, the fight against the multibillion-dollar cybercrime is intensifying with a new alliance between eCert Inc., Google and Yahoo!

ECert Inc., a leading e-mail security solutions provider, said Wednesday its partnership with Google and Yahoo! is aimed at protecting consumers from major forms of e-mail fraud, commonly known as "phishing."

The company said it developed the new anti-fraud service in collaboration with leading financial institutions and Internet service providers to address the widest possible range of individual and corporate users.

The eCert Email Domain eCertification Service adds a layer of protection for e-mail traffic that helps network operators block phishing scams before they reach the consumer's inbox.

Essentially the service targets the domains being used with criminal intent rather than just the e-mail messages transmitted from such domains.

ECert said its partnership with Google and Yahoo! means that financial institutions, social networks and e-commerce companies have the ability to stop the losses in revenue and consumer trust created by e-mail fraud.

The Obama administration last year launched a nationwide cybercrime awareness campaign that has been emulated by other countries, though in most cases without too much fanfare.

Analysts said many European countries seemed unwilling to publicize cyberthreats in case it dented public confidence in financial and government institutions.

"Yahoo! has the confidence of over 300-million e-mail customers, and is a leader in developing standards for e-mail authentication," said Mark Risher, senior director, Yahoo! Mail.

"Last year alone, we blocked 6 trillion spam messages from getting through to our customers," he said.

He said, "ECert's work with the financial industry and other major e-mail senders and e-mail providers is a critical component to achieving the shared goal of comprehensive protection."

To address the problem of e-mail fraud for businesses and consumers, e-mail industry veterans at eCert collaborated with experts at the largest financial institutions and leading ISPs.

The aim of their collaboration, begun in 2006, was to decide on an approach that leverages new e-mail authentication standards to increase security and reduce phishing.

ECert Chief Executive Officer Kelly Wanser said the service marks "a major advance for the industry in the fight against e-mail phishing and online fraud."

The service marries the security and performance requirements of the world's largest financial institutions with the consumer experience needs and technical expertise of the world's largest and fastest growing e-mail providers.

The exact financial terms of the collaboration weren't discussed by the companies' officials.

The eCert Email Domain eCertificationTM Service is a centralized service to register, manage and monitor domains that send e-mail.

Three key features of eCert's service include: monitoring e-mail traffic and threat activity, protecting member company e-mails against major forms of phishing, and "eCertificationTM," which enables advanced security, improved delivery and other important benefits, including delivery of critical data on e-mail traffic activity and phishing attack alerts.

ECert is the first service of its kind in operation. As a vital new part of the Internet ecosystem, eCert says it protects more than 100 million U.S. consumers and more than $50 billion in brand value for the largest financial institutions in the United States.

Founded in 2008, eCert, Inc. has headquarters in San Francisco.

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