Free browser plug-in spots dodgy sites

Behaviour-based scanner doesn't rely on blacklists

Finjan Software Tuesday joined the ranks of vendors offering free site security-ranking services by unveiling SecureBrowsing, a plug-in for Internet Explorer and Firefox that warns users of risky Web sites.

The browser plug-in scans each link in the results generated by the search engines from Google, Yahoo and Microsoft in real time, then ranks the URLs so users can decide whether to click through. The scans, said Finjan, examine all the dynamic code components of the page and detect potentially malicious code hosted on sites with a behaviour-based scanner rather than relying on blacklists.

Links are tagged with green or red icons to denote safe or possibly hazardous sites, respectively.

"A URL that was safe yesterday might contain malicious code today," Yuval Ben-Itzhak, Finjan's CTO, said in a statement. "Unlike other products that are based on static databases [of] domain reputations, Finjan SecureBrowsing scans each URL as it currently exists on the Web each time the address is displayed in the browser."

SecureBrowsing also rates the links it finds in Gmail, Yahoo Mail and Windows Live Hotmail e-mail messages as well as those in entries on MySpace, Digg, Slashdot and Blogger.

McAfee Inc.'s SiteAdvisor was the first to take on the site ranking chore with in-browser plug-ins, but others have followed, including Exploit Prevention Labs, which gives away LinkScanner Lite and sells a more advanced edition, LinkScanner Pro, for $US29.95.

Finjan's SecureBrowsing plug-ins can be downloaded from the company's site.

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