August 25, 2005 1:00 PM PDT

Microsoft MSN offers scam-site detector

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.

5 comments

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This looks like much noise but little skill....
... It looks like the add-on feature just checks the website
address actually reached versus the supposed website address
advertised. Anyone can do that now. When it says you are going
to, say, PayPal, but your address bar doesn't say
"www.PayPal......", that ought to be an adequate clue for any
user. Ought to be, but it's rather obvious that most web users
don't really know or notice what's going on. So, this will
probably be a useful feature for them. It's sort of like the low gas
light. If you never look at your car's gauges, you need the light -
and maybe a horn and whistle too.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
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finally
well they took their time but the boys in redmond are finally offering some protection to the poor sacks who have to tell everyone their bank details.
Posted by Scott W (419 comments )
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EarthLink has had this for more than a year
EarthLink came out with this technology last year.

Thanks MSFT for giving away older and not as good technology two years late.
Posted by Superguy13 (1 comment )
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The Masters of Innovation Strike Again
Excuse me while I retch. Typical. Microsoft comes out with some lame ass feature; it gets major press; Apple fans make fun; PC boys offer an attack by name calling back; and nothing about this "feature" warrants all the attention.

That Microsoft never ceases to amaze me. They are truly the masters of innovation. They have legions of fans who follow their every move, and that is because they're continuing to push the envelope in what technology can do.

All praise shall go to Saint Gates and Pope Ballmer. The infi-Dells, otherwise known as the Mac fans, will curse the holy city of Redmond, but to no avail. As we all know Saint Gates and Pope Ballmer are truly gods, and all the worlds media will bow when they speak their mighty words.

Face it folks, Microsoft has become a religion.
Posted by R. U. Sirius (745 comments )
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Microsoft is a little late and off the mark
We at EarthLink applaud Microsoft for trying to better protect their customers, but in today's announcment they missed the mark. They stated that they are the first to make an anti-phishing solution available as part of a toolbar. We did that last year. I guess, better late then never. Here is our official response:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contacts:
For EarthLink:
Jerry Grasso
404-748-7208
grassoj@corp.earthlink.net
EarthLink Sets Record Straight For Microsoft:
EarthLink Was First to Offer Anti-Phishing Toolbar

Atlanta, August 30th, 2005  The following statement is attributable to Kevin Brand, vice president, product management, EarthLink (NASDAQ: ELNK).
Todays Microsoft announcement stating that the companys Phishing Filter Add-in for MSN Search Toolbar beta is the first such technology to be integrated into a Web search toolbar is incorrect.
In April 2004, EarthLink launched ScamBlocker", a phisher-site blocking feature that is available at no charge to all Internet users - not just EarthLink access subscribers. To date, more than 1.3 million consumers have downloaded ScamBlocker.
Scamblocker is part of an easy-to-use, browser-based application that can be downloaded and installed as an Internet Explorer® or FireFox" toolbar. These toolbars also include a search engine powered by Google", as well as EarthLinks Pop-Up BlockerSM. In addition, the toolbars include EarthLinks SpyAudit, which runs an audit detailing all spyware programs residing on a consumers personal computer.
Consumers can download the browser-based application at EarthLinks Web site, <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.earthlink.net/earthlinktoolbar." target="_newWindow">http://www.earthlink.net/earthlinktoolbar.</a>
###

About EarthLink
"EarthLink. We revolve around youTM." As the nation's next generation Internet service provider, Atlanta-based EarthLink has earned an award-winning reputation for outstanding customer service and its suite of online products and services. Serving over five million subscribers, EarthLink offers what every user should expect from their Internet experience: high-quality connectivity, minimal online intrusions, and customizable features. Whether it's dial-up, high-speed, web hosting, wireless voice and data services, or "EarthLink Extras" like home networking, security or voice over IP, EarthLink provides the tools that best let individuals use and enjoy the Internet on their own terms. Learn more about EarthLink by calling (800) EARTHLINK or visiting EarthLink's Web site at www.earthlink.net.
Posted by Jerry Grasso (9 comments )
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