Microsoft MSN offers scam-site detector

An "antiphishing" feature is being built into the Internet Explorer 7 browser and will be available as an add-in for Internet Explorer 6.

Ina Fried
Ina Fried Former Staff writer, CNET News
During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley.
2 min read
Aiming to step up its battle against malicious Web sites, Microsoft said Wednesday that its MSN unit will offer a browser add-in that will help identify both known scam sites as well as those that appear suspicious.

Microsoft is already building similar "antiphishing" features into Windows Internet Explorer 7, the next version of its browser. In the new browser, users will be interrupted and warned when they try to go to a site that is known to deceptively try to grab personal information, a practice known as phishing. Those who go to sites not known as scam sites, but whose behavior appears suspicious, will see a warning.

MSN product manager Justin Osmer said that his unit will offer the same technology in a similar manner to users of the current Internet Explorer 6 browser via a plug-in to the free MSN toolbar that works in conjunction with IE6.

"It just made sense to include it into the products we have," Osmer said.

The Microsoft Phishing Filter add-in will be made available shortly in beta, or test form, Osmer said, adding that it will require that a computer be running Windows XP with Service Pack 2.

"We'll have more to say on this in the coming weeks," Osmer said. Internet Explorer 7 is already in limited beta testing, but has not been made publicly available. Microsoft plans to make IE 7 available for both Windows XP and Windows Vista, the new version of the operating system that is slated to ship next year.

Microsoft is partnering with WholeSecurity to help identify phishing sites. WholeSecurity maintains a blacklist of phishing sites, known as the Phish Report Network.

Osmer said Microsoft is planning to allow users to add number of new features to IE6 through the MSN Toolbar, but as yet the only other add-in is a weather-tracker feature that is already available from Microsoft's site.

"There's going to be more and more of those to come," Osmer said.