Every second, millions of online shoppers click on too-good-to-be-true ads for such deals as deeply discounted iPhones, Tesla giveaways and free Audible subscriptions. The number of these “phishing” schemes – which lure consumers to fraudulent websites posing as legitimate ones to steal customer data – increased by 1.5 million from 2018 to 2019.
The stats are from RedMarlin, the Los Altos-based software company that aims to protect internet users from phishing scams.
“Our mission is to clean up the internet,” said Abhishek Dubey, RedMarlin’s CEO and co-founder. “We believe that access to a clean and safe internet is a human right just like drinking water.”
RedMarlin’s software uses machine-learning technology to detect whether a site is legitimate; if it’s not, the program sends evidence to the user that the site is fake. Anyone surfing the internet can visit RedMarlin’s website at checkphish.ai, and type a URL in the search bar to find out if the site is legitimate or not. The service is free to consumers.
Dubey and Jason Alafgani, RedMarlin’s marketing director, said more people need to check the authenticity of a website before clicking a link.
“One of the most common examples is somebody trying to get your banking information, trying to get your username and password,” said Dubey, who co-founded the company with chief scientist Shashi Prakash in 2017. “Now we have new categories of scams where you are trying to buy Nike Jordans and you’re looking for a deal online and you land on this fake site where you give away your credit card and money.”
Alafgani added that oftentimes scammers may be targeting the employees of larger companies by posing as the real site to get login information and access company data. He said one of the most popular scams at the moment is fake pharmacy sites that advertise medications at extremely low prices and may mail their customers knock-off products, placing thousands of lives in danger.
Ensuring a ‘safe place’
Dubey noted that RedMarlin uses artificial intelligence to review the sites similarly to how a customer would, and analyzes the images and language of the page using an algorithm to understand the page’s intent.
“A lot of people would say, ‘It should have HTTPS’ (indicating a secure URL),’ but often, these fake sites have moved to HTTPS,” he said. “That is not the criteria
people should use. Pay attention to warnings.”
RedMarlin works with not only the consumer, but with businesses as well. The company sells its services to large corporations often fighting fake websites made to look like theirs in an attempt to dupe customers. RedMarlin uses special software employing artificial intelligence to recognize the sites and alert their clients so that they can be taken down, according to Dubey.
Alafgani added that more than 100 of the Fortune 500 companies have used CheckPhish to secure their products.
Alafgani also noted that such success has led to a recent round of funding from investors that RedMarlin will use to meet future goals. The long-term goal is to make a difference in people’s internet experience and ensure a safe place for all.
“Leading this effort, we want to continue to help the community and the world,” Alafgani said. “Our future goal is to deliver on the mission, which is to safeguard the internet.”
For more information on RedMarlin, visit redmarlin.ai.