Netscape 8.0 Offers Anti-Phishing Functions

America Online today announced the launch of the all-new Netscape 8.0 browser. The new version automatically adjusts safety and security settings to help protect users from phishers and other online exploits as they explore the Web.

Based on Firefox 1.0.3, Netscape 8.0 seamlessly and automatically switches between the rendering engines used by the Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers to help ensure maximum compatibility on known/trusted sites and maximum safety on unknown or potentially dangerous sites.

Black List, White List

“Netscape 8.0 combines the best of all worlds by automatically adjusting browser and security settings based on which sites are likely to be safe and which might be dangerous,” said Netscape General Manager Jeremy Liew. “By warning users before they visit many potentially dangerous sites, Netscape 8.0 adds an extra layer of protection to a user’s computer.”

If a user visits a Web site using Netscape 8.0, the browser automatically checks to see if the site is on a constantly updated “black list” of thousands of suspected virus, scam, or spyware sites or a “white list” of more than 150,000 Web sites that have been certified as legitimate by VeriSign and TRUSTe.

If the site appears on either list, the browser automatically adjusts its security settings and rendering engine to help protect the user from unsafe sites while offering full functionality on known and trusted sites. The browser also blocks access to suspected dangerous sites with a warning screen and disables potentially dangerous functionality on those sites.

Borrowing from Firefox

For the millions of sites that are neither on the “white” nor “black” list, Netscape 8.0 works just like the Firefox browser. As many Web sites are optimized for IE, if the page is not rendering correctly, the user can switch to IE-style rendering with just one click. The browser also remembers each users’ preferences, so they only have to make each choice once.

Jupiter Research analyst Joe Wilcox told TechNewsWorld that Netscape is the first to offer this level of security protection to its users. But the new anti-phishing browser also brings new challenges to AOL.

“If there is a disadvantage it’s keeping the lists of unsafe sites up to date,” Wilcox said. “If people get used to depending on the browser to warn them about unsafe sites, then AOL will have to stay on top of the bad sites.”

Customizable Enhancements

In addition to these advanced safety features, Netscape 8.0 includes a host of other enhancements. Home tabs, multiple Web mail accounts from the browser, and integrated search from a choice of providers, including AOL, AskJeeves, Google, and Netscape are among the new features.

Customizable live news, weather and RSS information within the browser chrome, visible RSS notification to add popular feeds to the browser with just a couple clicks, and enhanced shopping, maps, movie information, form fill and password managers, and up to 10 customizable toolbars round out the new browser features.

“Netscape is still a very popular browser,” Wilcox said. “While there’s a lot of buzz around Firefox, make no mistake. Lots of people still use Netscape.”

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