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Firefox 2.0 Bakes in Anti-Phish Antidote

Browsing Made Safer

  • June 2, 2006
  • By Sean Michael Kerner

Mozilla has reached the latest development milestone for its next-generation Firefox 2.0 "Bon Echo" browser with a little anti-phishing help from Google.

Anti-phishing capability, which Mozilla has branded "Safe Browsing," is one of the marquee features in Firefox 2.0 and one of the reasons a third alpha is necessary. Now baked into Firefox 2.0 alpha 3, Google Safe Browsing is triple-licensed under the Mozilla Public License (MPL) 1.1, the GPL 2.0, and the LGPL.

It is also built into the Google Toolbar, which is available for both Firefox and IE.

Safe Browsing inspects a visited site against a regularly updated list of known phishing sites. The list of phishing sites may be downloaded automatically within the browser or can optionally be checked against Google's online list of known miscreants.

IE Internet Explorer 7 will also have a form of anti-phishing capability.

The most recent report from the Anti Phishing Working Group (APWG) found that there were 11,121 unique phishing attacks in April 2006, which is the highest-ever number for that metric from the APWG.

Though the Google Safe Browsing code is freely available under open source licenses, there is a deep relationship between Google and Mozilla. Google is the employer of a number of key Mozilla staffers, including Firefox's Lead Engineer Ben Goodger.

Mozilla also receives millions of dollars a year from Google through its search affiliate initiatives.

Originally, Mozilla developers had anticipated releasing only two alphas before going into a beta test cycle, but a few features were not quite ready.

Mozilla released the first Firefox 2.0 alpha in March and the second two weeks ago.

The first beta of Firefox 2.0 is scheduled for June and is expected to mark the "feature frozen" stage of development. This stage locks down the features that will be in the browser for its release later this year.

The beta will also mark the beginning of wider usage and testing, as the alpha versions are only intended for developers and limited testing.

Mozilla is expected to update its current stable 1.5.x branch as early as tomorrow with a 1.5.0.4 security and stability update.

This article originally appeared on internetnews.com, a JupiterWeb site.

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