Microsoft, eBay, PayPal and Visa have backed a service that aims to crack down on phishing attacks by creating a central database of known scammers.
Online fraudsters often try to trick internet users by sending out emails or links to web pages mimicking popular websites.
These so-called phishing emails and sites usually ask internet users to provide sensitive information, such as passwords or bank details, which can be used to plunder accounts.
The newly launched Phish Report Network allows companies to report fraudulent sites to a central database, operated by IT security firm WholeSecurity.
Companies subscribing to the network can use the database to help improve consumer protection by blocking these sites in their security applications.
For example, companies such as eBay, PayPal and Visa can enter confirmed phishing sites, and software companies, ISPs and security vendors can incorporate the aggregated list into software, email and browser services to help protect consumers against online fraud.
"Phishing is the fastest growing segment of spam being sent worldwide today, victimising both legitimate online companies whose brands are being hijacked and consumers who are unwittingly providing their personal information to criminals," said Ryan Hamlin, general manager of the safety technology and strategy group at Microsoft.
"The data that the Phish Report Network will provide can help Microsoft immediately better defend our millions of users worldwide against these nefarious phishing attacks."
Tim Lee, vice president of global e-commerce at Visa, added: "Visa is focused not just on shutting down phishing sites, but preventing phishing emails from ever reaching consumers.
"Working with the participants in this solution, Visa can play a key role in stopping this crime before it happens and in maintaining global consumer confidence online."
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