The method described here is as follows:
The Web browsing application initiates a display of the content, and a phishing detection module detects a phishing attack in the content by determining that a domain of the network-based resource is similar to a known phishing domain, or that an address of the network-based resource from which the content is received has suspicious network properties
Add phishing details (as you learn about them) to a database of some sort (like Virus Definitions) and use that information to detect possible phishing items in a web page (before displaying the page in a browser).
Isn’t this the first thing any body (with some basic understand of the problem) propose as a solution? The answer would determine the obviousness of the solution.
Another aspect is, how effective this scheme is going to be – definitely it is not going to be a harmful – but is it going to be making any difference?
With PhishTank (a way to track phishers and allowing the browsers to safe guard the user) already functioning and being used in some browsers (without expected success rate – as pointed out in some test reports), where does the above disclosure from Microsoft stands? Will it/Should it be patented? More from a ethical stand point, should a corporation (I am not targeting Microsoft here – any corporation for that matter) aim at getting such ideas patented? What does it serve them?
MeThinks: More than trying to get money out of it, such ideas are patented out of fear – “What if my competitor patents it?”. In fact the more troublesome fear is “What if some individual inventor patents this idea?” – this would be a worst nightmare because big corporations cannot negotiate with individual inventors (as the individual inventors have nothing to lose here and the corporations wouldn’t be able to “cross-license” patents with individual inventors). Would it be possible for the corporations to patent this idea on behalf of a third (and neutral) party – like some division of United Nations? If such a system is agreed upon by corporations for the goodness of all, they can rest in peace.