Microsoft adds two security features to IE8

Margie Semilof

Microsoft has added two security features to its Internet Explorer 8.0 beta, which is expected out in August.

The IE 8.0 Beta 2 will include the SmartScreen Filter and the Cross Site Scripting Filter.

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The SmartScreen Filter protects against phishing threats and alerts users when they try to download software from sites that are known to host malware. SmartScreen was previously called Safety Filter. The Cross Site Scripting (XSS) Filter helps prevent attacks against Web servers. XSS blocks unwanted disclosure of personal information to malicious attackers, Microsoft said.

Microsoft released details about IE 8.0 in March along with an initial beta. The browser adds increased support for Web standards as well as boosted security.

Don Retallack, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, a Kirkland, Wash., consulting firm, said the SmartScreen Filter and XSS Filter are interesting advances but not major steps.

Individual users want these protections but they may worry about sending their browsing history to Microsoft, Retallack added. For corporations, there could be some concern about exposing proprietary data outside of the company.

For example, even if an end user is browsing from an internal corporate site, the URL information is sent to Microsoft, he said. There may be something in the URL that the corporation doesn't want made public.

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