Internet Explorer 8 and Malware/Phishing Protection

April 9, 2009

Onsite Computer Services in New Orleans is often asked by Microsoft business clients about protection from malicious web sites.  Evil-doers sometimes set up web sites to host phishing pages or distribute malware; however most malicious web sites are legitimate sites belonging to innocent parties that have been compromised by evil-doers.

Malicious web sites appear legitimate and rarely provide any indication of their malicious nature, even to experienced users. Visiting a malicious site can be dangerous, since attackers often create mechanisms that can download malware to vulnerable computers as soon as the user loads the page.

Phishing is increasing, although thanks to user education phishing efforts are now less successful. Microsoft phishing researchers have made significant improvements in their ability to discover new phishing sites and quickly block them. As a result, even though the number of active phishing sites is increasing, each individual site receives far less traffic than phishing sites in the past.

In March 2009, Internet Explorer 8 RC was released by Microsoft.  IE8 includes the Smart-Screen Filter, a successor to the Phishing Filter in Internet Explorer 7. The Smart-Screen Filter not only continues to provide protection against phishing but also includes anti-malware support. The security focus of IE8 has shifted from phishing to malware, with a constantly updated list of malware sites to protect the user.

The Smart-Screen anti-malware/anti-phishing feature is URL-reputation–based, which means that it evaluates servers hosting downloads to determine if those servers are known for malware or phishing. If a user visits a site with a history of distributing malware, Internet Explorer 8 displays the Smart-Screen blocking page and indicates that the server is known to distribute unsafe software.  As with phishing sites, Microsoft monitors traffic to each malware hosting site and uses the information to improve the Smart-Screen Filter and better combat malware distribution.

Of course, in addition to using IE8, Onsite Computer recommends installing security updates in a timely manner to greatly reduce the chance of being infected, although zero-day exploits pose a risk even to up-to-date computers.

If you’re searching for New Orleans computer service or repair of your Microsoft based system or network, then call the Microsoft specialists at 504-469-6991. Onsite Computer Services, Inc. in New Orleans

You may also be interested in Onsite Computer’s Blog.

This New Orleans On-Site Computer Service post was provided by Eli Lucas. Eli can be reached at Onsite Computer serves the Microsoft computing needs of small businesses throughout the Greater New Orleans area including Uptown, Lakeview, Broadmoor, Mid-City, Metairie, Jefferson, Kenner, Westbank, French Quarter, and the Warehouse District. Please visit our website for New Orleans Computer Service.


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