A new security company, Haute Secure, is offering a free beta version of its safe surfing toolbar for Internet Explorer that blocks malware from downloading onto your desktop. Firefox support is expected soon. Entering an already crowded field, the Haute Secure toolbar hopes to distinguish itself by taking the best of Exploit Prevention Labs Linkscanner Pro and McAfee SiteAdvisor, and then adds additional layers of protection. If they can pull it off with the final release, Haute Secure could be a must-have add-on for both Internet Explorer and Firefox.
The Haute Secure toolbar hooks into 70 processes running on your Windows XP or Windows Vista machine. Forty of these are related to browsers (in the initial release, Internet Explorer). The remaining hooks will be used for specific applications such as Microsoft Office PowerPoint and Adobe Acrobat.
Unlike McAfee SiteAdvisor, which tends to block an infected site entirely, Haute Secure allows access to the page after stripping out the malicious elements. And unlike SiteAdvisor, Haute Secure doesn't use a database, but analyzes each page on the fly, similar to the approach used by Linkscanner Pro.
And like Linkscanner Pro, the Haute Secure toolbar is also able to block specific elements of a page that are deemed malicious, allowing you to view the page safely. Haute Secure also uses phishing reports from Stopbadware.org, and can warn you of fraudulent sites, although in initial testing Linkscanner Pro blocked more phishing sites than did Haute Secure on our test machine.
In addition to proactive scanning, the Haute Secure toolbar also uses white and black lists to block known bad sites. Haute Secure was founded in 2006 by former Microsoft security engineers.