Microsoft Applies For Patent Telling You If A Website Is On A List Of Phishing Sites

from the non-obvious? dept

It seems that every few days when new patents are announced there are a few gems from Microsoft. Take, for example, Microsoft’s latest patent application on Phishing Detection, Prevention, and Notification. If they truly came up with an innovative way to stop phishing attacks, that would be interesting. Instead, it appears that the patent is for looking at the URLs found in an email or visited by a website, comparing them to a known list of phishing sites — and then alerting you that the link might be fraudulent. In other words, it’s the most obvious anti-phishing system around (and one that’s proven to not be all that effective). If someone were to describe to you the problem of phishing, and ask you how to stop it, this would be nearly everyone’s first attempt. It’s hard to see how something so obvious deserves patent protection — but the way our system works these days, the whole “non-obvious” requirement has been pretty much tossed out. Update: Clarifying that this is simply a patent application, not a granted patent — but the fact that Microsoft even thinks it’s worth applying for such a patent highlights the way the system works these days.

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Comments on “Microsoft Applies For Patent Telling You If A Website Is On A List Of Phishing Sites”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Just ask Bill Gates

Anybody could think of this….. To say that it is innovative is a joke. Think about it…..the is the very heart of anti-phising. I’m 100% sure someone thought of this before microsoft.

Actually, IE7 is mostly firefox ideas (firefox came way before IE7). Microsoft may have some original ideas, but their integratity is quickly fading

One think about microsoft is that they are killing their “free” programs with advertisings. For example, Windows Live Messenger has 16 tabs (mostly ads) plus one big ad at the bottom. Or windows media player is begining to suffer as well.

Snicker says:

Re: Voice recognition? Flashback to '94

At the ’94 Tech Ed, William Henry Gates III was looking to the future and stated, “We are committed to 1996 as the year of voice recognition”.

Then again, there was “Project Tiger” in ’92. It was a video server which never made it out of an elite alpha group of testers. If they’d only finished what they started, eh?

Carson. A. says:


This information should be posted on every single major new publication. Granting patents to simple stuff like this prevents anybody from being able to use those common sense techniques in their products – therby giving monopoly on “common sense ideas” to some corporate giant whos only intention is to grab as much cash from the marketplace as possible. This is evil.

Anonymous Coward says:


Why are you wasting everyone’s time by commenting on just a patent “application”? Applications are meaningless. If this patent gets issued as-is, then it would warrant a discussion about it’s obviousness.

But, by condemning the patent system for a patent that hasn’t even been examined yet is just pathetic and simply shows how desperate you must be to get people to agree with you, even if you have to make up some false issues!

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Why are you wasting everyone’s time by commenting on just a patent “application”?

Actually, I was clear enough in the post that it was an application, not a granted patent, so I’ve clarified. Sorry about that. However, I disagree that it’s a wasted effort.

Applications are meaningless. If this patent gets issued as-is, then it would warrant a discussion about it’s obviousness.

No. Applications are far from meaningless. If it were just some random inventor it might be, but the fact that a company like Microsoft thinks that this is worth applying for a patent over shows just how screwed up the system is. It shows that the incentives aren’t towards innovation but towards getting as many patents as possible, and that doesn’t help anyone.

So I disagree completely that it’s not an issue. If the patent system were functioning properly companies like Microsoft wouldn’t be applying for such obvious patents and we wouldn’t be wasting money over such applications. It’s bad for the system, it’s bad for the industry and it’s bad for the economy.

If you think that’s meaningless, that’s a different issue, but I tend to disagree. It’s extremely important.

Duane Nickull (user link) says:

Phishing for Phun and Prophit

Actually, the mechanism itself (from my limited understanding of it) is sohpisticated and unique enough to warrant a patent. Comparing the email URL presentation (not the actual URI but how it is presented) to the URI of the site it leads to with P&S heuristics is not trivial and while i find myself siding with MS on this one. It is a good feature to have.

The USPTO (and other NGO’s like WIPO) on the other hand, should really sit back and take stock of themselves and how they serve our society. I continue to rant against them as I believe their existance must be justified by their ability to show us how what they do benefits us all, not just an elite few.

Chris says:

yet more laws to help people never have to take re

Here we go again, instead of people wanting to take the 3 seconds out of their day to determine whether they’re being scammed or not, they’d rather waste tax dollars on letting some company put up a patent (gov institution funded by taxes) then let lawyers squabble over who applied first, yet had the rights before the application was submitted… all in front of a judge (funded by taxes) so we can be sure that isn’t ripping us a new one. Isn’t American capitalism the best?

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