U.S. State Department Buys Internet Security Software from Oakland Firm
Cronin, Mike, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
The State Department has chosen an Oakland company founded by three Carnegie Mellon University computer scientists to help protect its 55,000 employees from Internet criminals.
Wombat Security Technologies sold its training game, "Anti- Phishing Phil," to the government for $50,000, said Norman Sadeh, a CMU professor and Wombat CEO.
"We're very pleased," Sadeh said. "This is a big deal. The State Department is going to employ the technology worldwide."
"Phishing" is the creation of a phony Web site to trick Internet users into providing sensitive information such as usernames and passwords.
Hackers dupe people into clicking on bogus Web sites by sending them e-mails that look real.
Anti-Phishing Phil teaches users how to spot genuine and fake Web site addresses with two characters: a young fish swims around looking for worms to eat and that fish's father. When the fish swims over a worm, a Web address appears on the screen and the player must decide whether to eat or reject the worm - depending on whether the site is authentic.
"The threat of stolen identity is absolutely growing," said Laura Mather, a co-founder and vice president of Silver Tail Systems, a California company that specializes in Internet fraud. "Unfortunately, no one is safe. Phishing goes after any consumer or business. So it's critical to understand."
Criminals are becoming more sophisticated, said Mather, who is the managing director of operational policy for the Anti-Phishing Working Group, a nonprofit organization focused on eliminating Internet fraud and identity theft. The group has offices in California and Massachusetts. …