Haute Secure blocks Web threats

A new, free tool to block recently compromised Web sites emerges from beta. We found it to be a useful product, but not without drawbacks.

New Web threats today come not necessarily from sites built to host malicious content, but also from legitimate sites that have been compromised. A new safe Web surfing product, Haute Secure, is out of beta and available for free home use with both Internet Explorer and Firefox. Founded in 2006 by former Microsoft security engineers, Haute Secure hopes to distinguish itself in a crowded field of products, including Grisoft Linkscanner and Finjan SecureBrowsing.

Haute Secure is a free 32-bit or 64-bit download when used for home use; businesses will be charged to have their Web pages checked for malicious code. At the moment there is little technical support offered beyond a few FAQs and a users' forum.

While we were pleased with the product's ability to block threats on compromised Web sites, Haute Secure did, however, fail to identify a few recent non-exploit-related phishing sites, which surprised us. Using five sites recently reported to a reputable, independent phish-tracking site (most were active an hour or less), we noted that none were flagged as active by Haute Secure. Perhaps that's because the pages themselves do not contain malicious code. Yet the pages do contain forms which, when filled out and sent in, could compromise your identity. Although Haute Secure uses phishing reports from Stopbadware.org and others, and will warn you of known fraudulent sites, we found the native anti-phishing protection in Internet Explorer and Firefox did a better job at flagging recently reported phishing sites.

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