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Opera sings anti-malware tune
Published: 2008-06-06

Software maker Opera announced on Friday that its browser of the same name will incorporate anti-malware features starting with the next version.

The feature -- to be added in the next version of the browser, Opera 9.5 -- will prevent users from downloading programs from Web pages that purposefully or inadvertently attempt to infected visitors with malicious code. The browser's ability to block known malicious links puts the soon-to-be-released browser on par with its competitors' software -- Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 and Mozilla's Firefox 3 -- both which have anti-malware features.

"When someone downloads Opera, we make a commitment to do everything we can to keep them safe," Jon von Tetzchner, CEO of Opera, said in a statement announcing the new feature. "Today we’ve extended that commitment beyond the browser to protect our users from malware that tries to attack when they visit a compromised Web page or that they may unintentionally try to download."

Earlier this year, both Microsoft and Mozilla announced that the next versions of their browsers will also block sites that attempt to infect visitors' computers with malicious code. Internet Explorer 8 is currently in beta testing, while Mozilla posted its second release candidate on Thursday. Data from security firms suggests that the majority of malicious links are inadvertently hosted by legitimate sites.

The move to block Web sites and links that attempt to compromise users' computers utilizes technology from start-up Haute Security, a company founded by four Microsoft employees. The technology goes beyond just blacklisting malicious sites and links, Steve Anderson, head of product strategies at Haute Secure, said in an interview with SecurityFocus

"We have created a new and differentiated technology to find malware," Anderson said. "We don't use signatures. We use behavioral analysis."

Windows users of Firefox and Internet Explorer can download the Haute Secure technology as a plug-in for their browser. Opera did not give a firm date for when it will release version 9.5.

If you have tips or insights on this topic, please contact SecurityFocus.

Posted by: Robert Lemos
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