For anti-phishing tools to work, phishing sites must be recognized, analyzed and then added to a database so that users who use programs that work with the database are warned about it.
The nature of phishing makes this a process that needs to be completed as fast as possible.
Sites like Web of Trust allow users to share information about phishing sites, but scores of similar tools exist and as it would be counter-productive for each to maintain their own database of phishing sites.
PhishTank centralises phishing reports and allows developers to use their data free-of-charge in their own applications, with manual or automatic downloads enabled (although the latter requires a free API key).
PhishTank offers a service a lot of web users will use without even realizing it. Whilst certain tools might submit their data to PhishTank too, you can help your fellow web users and fight phishers through submitting data directly to PhishTank.
With a free registered account, reports can be submitted through a web interface or through email. It is extremely easy to send the next phishing attempt that manages to get through your spam filters to PhishTank. Providing you have that email address registered with them, all you have to do it forward it to phish (at) phishtank.com .
Whilst it might not directly benefit you to do so, you are helping users who might help you too. If nothing else, you are keeping your credit card interest rate down marginally, as your bank has to pay less out to compensate phishing victims!
It is easy enough to register an account on the Phishtank website. That's still a prerequisite for reporting potential phishing sites to the operators of the service.
It is interesting to note that PhishTank is operated by OpenDNS, a third-party DNS service that is offering free and paid DNS accounts.Advertisement
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.