Anti-phishing project get EC funding boost

The European Commission has awarded undisclosed funding to a joint anti-phishing project between commercial, academic and research groups over three years.

The AntiPhish project involves Symantec, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Nortel, Katholieke Universiteit KU Leuven and Tiscali. Its task is to develop anti-phishing filters that can work outside of recognising phishing mail on a signature basis, but additionally recognise variations of known phishes and anticipate new threats.

The project will take place in three phases. Initially Symantec will supply Fraunhofer and KU Leuven phishing data with which to develop laboratory-based algorithms on which to base filters. After this the project will be moved to Symantec's Global Intelligence Network, where it will be studied under simulated real-world levels of phishing attacks.

'Our AntiPhish consortium is privileged to be part of this important international effort,' said Brian Witten, director of government research in Symantec Research Labs. 'The research we undertake will leverage the collaborative capabilities of leading research organisations and be driven by the practical, hands-on experience of industry participants who have expertise with fighting spam on a global scale.'

In the third phase, Tiscali will trial the filters with its broadband subscriber customer base, while Nortel will take the project on further, looking into how it can be used on cellular networks.

'We are very happy to be part of this joint effort,' said Domenico Dato, R&D manager at Tiscali, 'The Antiphish research will be among the activities of Tiscali Labs, our research and development hub that was set up for implementing and testing innovative products and services.'

According to the Anti Phishing Working Group (APWG), there were more than 10,000 active phishing sites in August of this year, with the majority hosted in the US. However, this picture is changing rapidly, with security company Marshall reporting massive volumes of phishing attacks now emanating from China, which now accounts for 18 per cent of the total.