I have worked for one of the biggest financial organizations in Germany in the past. One of our jobs was to deal with customers who had fallen pray to phishing and other malicious attacks.
The attacks were not sophisticated at all, and included emails with errors, no personal information and even some from other organizations that the customer had never dealt with before in the beginning.
The phishing emails became more professional over time, and it became harder to educate customers about the dangers.
Update: WebRoot and PrevX, the company behind SafeOnline, merged to become a single company. Prevx products like SafeOnline are no longer available as a consequence. The last "sign of life" of the technology is found in a WebRoot press release in 2011.
SafeOnline is a security program developed by Prevx that is available as a standalone software or as part of Prevx 3.0. This program, according to its developers, is able to protect PCs against many forms of phishing and pharming even if they are infected.
How is it done?
The core protection lies in the ability to block keyloggers, screen scrapers, man-in-the-browser attacks, session hijackers, clipboard grabbers, and a number of other threats commonly installed by trojans like SilentBanker, Bancos, Zeus, Torpig, and Curtwail onto thousands of PCs daily. Rather than focusing on being able to identify the threats themselves, SafeOnline works to isolate the browser from the rest of the system even if unknown threats exist that try to steal data from the user. System level malware generally attempts to read data from the browser but Prevx introduces a layer in-between the browser and the rest of the operating system, tricking the threats into thinking that they have successfully read and transmitted the user's credentials outside of the system when they have not. Unlike other solutions, Prevx SafeOnline works with the user's existing browser, without requiring the use of a specialized browser so there is no need for the user to change their browsing habits - protection is applied seamlessly and silently in the background.
This sounds like a reverse sandbox where the content of the sandbox is protected from the rest of the computer system. According to Prevx it offers protection against
* Phishing attacks
* Screen Grabbers
* Cookie Stealers
* Info Stealing Trojans such as ZEUS, MBR, Goldun, and Silent Banker
Prevx has contacted several banks in the UK offering their product for free to the bank's customers. Six banks so far have shown interest in the product. These banks had special requirements according to PC World that included that the product would work with other security software, and would not force the banks to change their websites. The security product was able to meet all of these requirements.
Verdict: The main question here is if it is really safe. Will it really defeat all keyloggers and phishing attacks? What if the security software fails do to so? What if users feel overconfident using the software? It might work as an extra layer of defense on a PC system but it might take a while before the company can build enough trust in their product. Thanks Dante for the tip.
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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.