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Warning Users of Dangerous Clicks

MarkMonitor's buyout of Collective Trust could allow ISPs to warn users about dangerous clicks ahead

Today's merger of two well-known fraud detection companies may soon allow ISPs to warn end users and consumers that they are about to click over to a threatening Website.

MarkMonitor, which maintains a database of fraudulent sites and monitors the Web for potentially inappropriate uses of corporate names and addresses, today bought Collective Trust, a privately-held firm that makes online fraud detection and notification technology. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

By combining the two companies' offerings, MarkMonitor plans to create a new service that will let Internet service providers perform real-time heuristics and analysis of Websites and correlate the data with information about dangerous or bogus sites. The result: ISP users could be warned of potential dangers before they interact with a malicious Web page.

MarkMonitor has been monitoring the misuse of corporate names and addresses for more than five years, boasting of 40 of the Fortune 100 among its customers, and also monitors the top four ISPs for suspicious activity such as worms or phishing attacks.

The company has used the collected data to build an enormous historical database, which contains information on all types of fraud perpetrated through ISPs or through the misuse of its clients' names or computer systems.

However, the MarkMonitor systems are designed primarily for use by corporations and ISPs, not end users or consumers. CollectiveTrust, on the other hand, offers ScamAlarm, a $30 client-side tool that analyzes Websites for potential phishing, identity theft schemes, or malware, and then warns users of potential trouble before they click over to them. CollectiveTrust also maintains lists of potentially dangerous sites, but its database is not as deep as MarkMonitor's.

Together, the two companies could build a tool that ISPs could download to the end user's workstation, as they do with antivirus software today, that would be constantly updated with the latest information about phishing and other fraud exploits. The software would then analyze a user's page clicks and warn them of any potential dangers before the perpetrators could steal cookies or other information.

The two companies did not announce a timetable for the development of a combined offering, but a spokesman said a separate announcement with "a major ISP" likely will be made in the next week or so.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • CollectiveTrust
  • MarkMonitor Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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