Web consultant Netcraft has developed a free-of-charge anti-phishing toolbar to help prevent corporate and domestic users falling prey to fake bank websites.
The Netcraft Toolbar uses Netcraft's huge databases of website information to show users all the attributes of each site they visit on the web, including sites' hosting location, country, longevity and popularity.
Netcraft said the toolbar will effectively turn the Netcraft user community into a "giant neighbourhood watch scheme" by allowing users to report fake sites and prevent them being repeatedly used for scams.
The toolbar features include a clear display of sites' hosting location at all times. This helps users validate fraudulent urls (for example the main online banking site of a large UK bank is unlikely to be hosted in the former Soviet Union).
Once a user reports a phishing URL, it is blocked to prevent other community members accessing it.
The Netcraft toolbar works with Google and other toolbars and traps cross site scripting and other suspicious urls containing characters which have no common purpose other than to deceive.
There is Netcraft supervisor validation to contain the impact of any false reporting of urls.