There are some current tools out there which may help users make better choices (or block their bad choices). I’m just going to talk about browser toolbars.
For the user class of not completely hopeless up to expert I really recommend McAfee’s SiteAdvisor. This toolbar works with Firefox and IE and will provide more prominent and granular indicators that a site is dubious (or downright malicious). Users will need to keep an eye on their browser corner (which may require education) or optionally glance at the pretty red, yellow, green icons next to their google search results (RED means BAD)
Also for those looking at getting involved in the community sign up to be a reviewer. Help SiteAdvisor catch and correctly flag all those bad sites that try oh so hard to look legit.
So back to phishing. Netcraft has a really nice toolbar which can provide visual clues (YMMV) as well as speed bumps to doing something unsafe. It can actually block access to a site pending user verification (ok so we all know most users click OK on anything that pops up to get it out of the way)
This whitelist based preemptive blocking approach prevents exploitation of security vulnerabilities (known and even unknown!) with no loss of functionality…
Experts do agree: Firefox is really safer with NoScript ;-)Works with: Firefox 1.0 – 3.0a1, Mozilla 1.7 – 1.8
A spoofed website is typically made to look like a well known, branded site (like ebay.com or citibank.com) with a slightly different or confusing URL. The attacker then tries to trick people into going to the spoofed site by sending out fake email messages or posting links in public places – hoping that some percentage of users won’t notice the incorrect URL and give away important information. This practice is sometimes known as “phishing”. SpoofStick makes it easier to spot a spoofed website by prominently displaying only the most relevant domain information.
You may want to run your Web browser inside the sandbox most of the time. This way any incoming, unsolicited software (spyware, malware and the like) that you download, is trapped in the sandbox. Changes made to your list of Favorites or Bookmarks, hijacking of your preferred start page, new and unwanted icons on your desktop — all these, and more, are trapped in and bound to the sandbox. You could also try a new toolbar add-on, browser extension or just about any kind of software. If you don’t like it, you throw away the sandbox, and start again with a fresh sandbox. On the other hand, if you do like the new piece of software, you can re-install it outside the sandbox so it becomes a permanent part of your system.
Sandboxie intercepts changes to both your files and registry settings, making it virtually impossible for any software to reach outside the sandbox.
Sandboxie traps cached browser items into the sandbox as a by-product of normal operation, so when you throw away the sandbox, all the history records and other side-effects of your browsing disappear as well.
Expect this warning and popup trend to continue. Google is taking steps to prevent accidental wrong exits (see http://www.stopbadware.org/ for details on this initiative)
The next versions of IE and Firefox should have some of these protections built in. None of these will remove the need for user education (good luck explaining hostnames and mouse-overs to grandma). The criminals will figure out ways to circumvent these technologies and users will continue to ignore all the annoying popup warning windows and glaring red warning symbols. Its just human nature. If only it were as simple as just telling people to “only surf trusted sites”. Right. uh huh.