Well, this week’s download goes a long with the phishing article I did a few weeks ago (12-8-2004). It comes from one of our attentive, informed readers who happened to be on the ball and sent me an email describing a program that I should consider exposing to our readers. Well, this morning I finally had a chance to run the program through it’s paces and I couldn’t agree more—this is a defensive measure for potential phishing attacks and could save you some unwanted grief.
Just to refresh your memory or give you a basic rundown, “Phishing” is when a hacker creates a website that looks just like an actual legitimate site. Then the hackers try various ways to get unsuspecting users to go to these sites—usually through some bogus email stating that your account needs some sort of attention. There’ll be a link to the spoofed site where it’ll try to capture your account information. This has been around for a while, but as of late it has become a growing security threat. There are a couple of ways you can determine if the site is phony or legitimate, but today’s download makes all of this just a little bit easier.
Spoofstick is a download from Core Street which plugs into your Internet Explorer or Firefox 1.0 and helps you verify URL’s (web addresses). The program integrates with either of these browsers seamlessly and needs no configuration. It simply sits on your browser and verifies every URL you visit. For instance, if you go to Worldstart.com the SpoofStick window toolbar plug-in will display a message that reads, “You’re on worldstart.com”.
On the other hand, if you are on a spoofed site the message will read something like this “You’re on 184.108.40.206″ When you think you’re on Ebay. Basically Spoofstick compromises the spoofed website showing you where you really are.
All in all SpoofStick is a great security tool that’s easy to use, and can potentially protect you from being scammed and taken advantage of. There isn’t a ton of help out at Core Street’s site but you really don’t need it. The program works with Firefox 1.0 and Internet explorer 6, although they are different downloads. You also want to pay attention to the FireFox version install—it’s a little different than what you may be used to, but it’s no big deal.
Once it’s installed, restart whichever of the two browsers you’re using and you’ll see it. Next to the display field for SpoofStick in your browser you’ll see the options pull-down—there’s only three things you can configure (size, color, and what it displays) none of which need to be tweaked in order to get the program to work, they are simply there for aesthetic purposes. Well, thank you Stephen for the heads up—nice program. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
**Worldstart is not the developer of this software so we cannot offer technical support on this program.