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Netscape 8.1 takes aim at spyware

The latest browser from the AOL division is designed to bolster security with automatic scanning for spyware and adware.

Netscape on Wednesday released its latest browser, version 8.1, which adds features designed to better protect Web surfers against online scams such as spyware and phishing.

Netscape 8.1 offers built-in spyware and adware protection that scans files that Web users try to download as well as those that are sent to them without their interaction, according to a representative for Netscape, a division of Time Warner's America Online subsidiary. The updated browser will also let consumers run complete memory and disk scans.

Other security features include an updated blacklist of potential phishing sites and a security center people can access to see if they need to take action on their computer.

Netscape's move to increase security features comes as malicious attackers are increasingly targeting browser flaws, including vulnerabilities found last spring in Netscape's browser.

The latest version of the browser also offers updates designed to enhance its RSS (Really Simple Syndication) support. RSS feeds, for example, can be viewed within the browser rather than requiring a separate viewer.

In addition, a new profile manager is designed to let multiple Web users share the same browser but maintain different bookmarks, passwords and other customizations.