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Anti-Phishing Test August 2012

Date July 2012
Language English
Last Revision August 14th 2012

Release date 2012-08-15
Revision date 2012-08-14
Test Period July 2012
Number of Testcases 574
Online with cloud connectivity checkbox-checked
Update allowed checkbox-checked
False Alarm Test included checkbox-checked
Platform/OS Microsoft Windows
Methodology Click here


What is Phishing?

“Phishing is a way of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. This is similar to Fishing, where the fisherman puts a bait at the hook, thus, pretending to be a genuine food for fish. But the hook inside it takes the complete fish out of the lake. Communications purporting to be from popular social web sites, auction sites, online payment processors or IT administrators are commonly used to lure the unsuspecting public. Phishing is typically carried out by e-mail spoofing or instant messaging and it often directs users to enter details at a fake website whose look and feel are almost identical to the legitimate one. Phishing is an example of social engineering techniques used to deceive users, and exploits the poor usability of current web security technologies.”


For more information about how not to get hooked by a phishing scam, please have a look at e.g. (provided by the United States’ Homeland Security).

The tested product versions are the ones that were available at time of testing (July 2012).

Tested Products

Test Procedure

In our common test scenario, we simulate a user that relies on the Anti-Phishing protection provided by its security product while browsing the web (and/or checking his webmail e-mail account, i.e. anti-spam features are not considered, as they are not the scope of this test). The test was done on real machines, using Windows XP SP3 and Internet Explorer 7 (without the build-in phishing blocker in order to get browser-independent results). All security products were tested with default settings and in parallel at the same time on the same URLs.


Phishing URLs were mainly taken out from phishing mails during 6th to 27th July 2012. All phishing URLs had to be active/online and attempt to get personal information. After removing all invalid, offline and duplicate (sites hosted on same server/IP) test-cases, only 574 different and valid Phishing URLs re-mained. The phishing campaigns targeted various types of personal data. Among those were (in the fol-lowing order) phishing attempts to gather e.g. login credentials etc. for: PayPal, Online Banking & Credit cards, E-mail accounts, eBay, Social networks, Online Games, and other online services.

The lifespan of phishing URLs is getting shorter, and more and more phishing sites are targeted/small campaigns to remain under the radar, which makes it increasingly difficult for Anti-Phishing/URL-Blocker countermeasures to be efficient in time.

Ranking System

The awards are decided and given by the testers based on the observed test results (after consulting statistical models). The ranking system for this year’s Anti-Phishing Test is as follows:

Anti-Phishing Protection Cluster
Protection under 50%
Zero Fps
1 to 3 FPs
4 to 6 FPs
More than 6 FPs

Test Results

Below you see the percentages of blocked phishing websites (size of test set: 574 phishing URLs).

7.PC Tools89.2%
8.Trend Micro88.5%
13.G DATA72.3%

False Positive (False Alarm) Test Result

For the Anti-Phishing False Alarm Test we selected 300 very popular banking sites (all of them using HTTPS and showing a login form) from all over the world and checked if any of the various security prod-ucts blocked those legitimate online banking sites. Wrongly blocking such sites is a serious mistake. From the tested products, only GFI Vipre had one false alarm on the tested 300 legitimate online banking sites:

GFI Vipre (one false alarm):
– Bank24 from Russia

The discovered false alarm has been reported to the respective vendor and is now no longer blocked.

Award levels reached in this Anti-Phishing Test

The following awards are for the results reached in this Anti-Phishing Test

* these products got lower awards due to false alarms


Panda Cloud Free Antivirus was also tested, but unfortunately, Panda had technical issues during the period of the test. There was a downtime of the server pushing out URL filtering signatures in July. Therefore, the measured results would not reflect the usual phishing protection of the product. Due to that, we decided to do not publish the results of PCAV.

ESET v5 does not have a dedicated module for anti-phishing protection yet. However, phishing sites are currently blocked along with other potentially harmful sites (like in most other products), employing various technologies such as webfilter, parental control and detection of suspicious content aimed at the phishing landing pages themselves. The new version (v6.0) of ESET includes dramatically improved anti-phishing protection. We evaluated the new version in parallel: it would have blocked 93,9% of the phish-ing sites.

Kaspersky is also going to release a new version (2013) soon, which includes improved phishing protec-tion too. The new version would have blocked 97,4%.

Qihoo is mainly targeted to block Chinese phishing sites.

Copyright and Disclaimer

This publication is Copyright © 2012 by AV-Comparatives ®. Any use of the results, etc. in whole or in part, is ONLY permitted after the explicit written agreement of the management board of AV-Comparatives prior to any publication. AV-Comparatives and its testers cannot be held liable for any damage or loss, which might occur as result of, or in connection with, the use of the information provided in this paper. We take every possible care to ensure the correctness of the basic data, but a liability for the correctness of the test results cannot be taken by any representative of AV-Comparatives. We do not give any guarantee of the correctness, completeness, or suitability for a specific purpose of any of the information/content provided at any given time. No one else involved in creating, producing or delivering test results shall be liable for any indirect, special or consequential damage, or loss of profits, arising out of, or related to, the use or inability to use, the services provided by the website, test documents or any related data.

For more information about AV-Comparatives and the testing methodologies, please visit our website.

(August 2012)