Do anti-phishing toolbars in web browsers stop phishing attacks? No. Can they reduce them, even for savvy users? Yes. Are they all equally effective? No.

MIT researchers found that users are highly likely to ignore anti-phishing toolbars… especially those designed to verify SSL certificates.

Min Wu, Robert Miller and Simson Garfinkel tested three types of toolbars:

1. Neutral info: Lists website domain name, hostname, host country, etc.
2. SSL-verifying: Displays SSL certificate logos, warning for non-SSL sites.
3. System decision: Shows a stoplight, red = bad, yellow = ?, green = good.

Read more: Why Phishers Don’t Fear SSL Toolbars