Antiphishing toolbar for Firefox released

New plug-in for open-source Web browser can help protect users against attempts to swipe sensitive information.

Internet services company Netcraft has released a version of its toolbar for Firefox. The plug-in can help users of the Web browser avoid phishing scams, the company said.

The Netcraft Toolbar blocks phishing Web sites that have been reported by other users. A version of the plug-in for Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser has been available since December of last year. More than 7,000 phishing sites have been detected and blocked since then, Netcraft, which is located in Bath, England, said on its Web site on Tuesday.

Phishing is a prevalent type of online fraud that attempts to steal sensitive user information such as user names, passwords and credit card information. The attacks typically combine spam e-mail and fraudulent Web pages that look like legitimate sites.

In addition to blocking phishing sites, the Netcraft toolbar includes other features to help users be more security-aware when surfing. For example, it includes a risk rating for Web sites, as well as information about the popularity of a site and the country in which the site is hosted, according to the Netcraft site.

The toolbar will also "trap" suspicious Web addresses based on the characters used and enforces display of the browser navigation buttons to defend against pop-up windows that may attempt to hide those buttons, Netcraft said.

The Firefox toolbar runs on any operating system supported by Firefox and is available for free download from Netcraft.