No quick tech fix for phishing

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No quick tech fix for phishing

Education not much cop either, says security expert.

A senior researcher at RSA Security has told that there is no technological solution for phishing.

Uriel Maimon, senior researcher in the office of the chief technology officer at RSA, said that technology solutions could never provide a cure for phishing and online fraud because technical fixes could always be subverted.

Such measures also depend on the end user to operate and, as such, are vulnerable to error or incompetence.

The only cure is for phishing to move high enough up the political and social agenda that politicians would fund police to deal with the problem adequately.

It will also be necessary to resolve international legal differences to make sure that the perpetrators are locked away regardless of their location.

Users are far too accepting of online fraud, according to Maimon, and the problem will not be solved until this attitude changes.

"It is battered wife syndrome. People need to say 'enough' and insist that action be taken," he said.

"Governments must apply social pressure. It is done with the drugs trade and you can see in Thailand what can be done to cut the problems of underage sex in this way."

Maimon added that the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency is doing a great job but needs more manpower and greater resources to catch online criminals.

Sentencing also needs to be looked at because criminals get a stiffer prison sentence for laundering the cash that has been stolen than for stealing it in the first place.

International action is also vital, according to Maimon, and countries should be pressured to enforce their own laws.

In some cases phishing gangs were known to be operating in certain towns, but corrupt local police do not step in because they are on the payroll of the phishers.

Education is not proving successful either, despite the efforts of some governments. "Education is possibly the least effective method of stopping phishing," Maimon told

"Education does not deter fraud. All it does is strengthen consumer confidence and you cannot trust consumers to make the right choices all the time."

However, education does have a role in telling people about their rights and what they should expect in the way of protection. In this way pressure would grow for real change to be made in government.
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