Start-Up Hopes to Stop Phishing With Certified Email

The number and sophistication of phishing attacks–scam emails that appear to be from the IRS or a Nigerian prince–has made it difficult for banks and other businesses to use email to communicate with customers. In an effort to reclaim the channel, several financial institutions and email providers are working with a startup to implement an authentication service for electronic messages.

The startup, eCert, confirms that an email is from the company it says it’s from. The company maintains a list of every server that participating organizations send emails from and shares the information with Google (GOOG) and Yahoo (YHOO), which operate popular email services. If a server isn’t on the list, messages from it don’t get through. The company also has other ways of testing an email’s authenticity, as well.

“We can now verify that a message came from a domain,” says Kelly Wanser, eCert’s CEO.

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