New search tools aim to identify phishers, fraudsters

Tech Culture

How do you know if that car rental agency in Italy that you found on Yahoo is legit? GeoTrust, which specializes in software for authenticating Web sites and e-commerce transactions, is coming out with tools that will help you figure that out.

Later this year, the company plans to offer tools for "trusted search," CEO Neil Creighton said during a meeting at the AlwaysOn conference in Palo Alto. In a nutshell, this means that search results will feature a badge or mark to indicate whether a company has been properly identified and authenticated through GeoTrust's software. The lack of a badge doesn't mean that a company is fraudulent, but consumers will at least know that businesses featuring the badge have been vouched for. In turn, Creighton theorized, authenticated companies may see higher click-through rates because of the visible authentication badge.

A large broadband provider later this year is expected to include GeoTrust's software in its toolbar. When a consumer goes to a site, the software will examine the construction of the site for clues about whether it's genuine or fraudulent, as well as check to see whether it's on any blacklists. If warning signs come up, the user is notified.

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