Find safe-browser technologies that really work

Yardena arar By Yardena Arar

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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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2009-11-05:

Yardena Arar

About Yardena Arar

Yardena Arar has written about technology for the New York Times, the Canadian Press, the Associated Press, and the Los Angeles Daily News. She was an editor at PC World magazine from 1996 to 2009, and is now a PC World contributing editor.