The major browsers and security programs all tout their ability to warn you about malware sites before you visit them, but do any of these early-warning systems really work?
Experts say they’re all useful, but none provides a silver bullet — and any browser-security product’s claims of superiority are extremely difficult to verify.
One of the ways browsers and their add-ons combat malware is by tracking sites containing infected files and warning you before your browser opens them.
Safe-browsing products and technologies go by different names: Internet Explorer 8 has a SmartScreen Filter, while Firefox and Chrome use the Google Safe Browsing API. Opera’s built-in fraud protection depends on malware data assembled by Netcraft.
If you use Firefox, the free LinkExtend add-on combines alerts from several site-rating services. You’ll find more information about LinkExtend, plus a download link, on the product’s site. WS senior editor Gizmo Richards described the utility in his March 5 Best Software column (paid content).
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