British Web monitoring and metrics firm Netcraft has released a toolbar for Internet Explorer that can help people sidestep phishing scams.
Dubbed Netcraft Toolbar, the free-of-charge plug-in to Microsoft's popular IE browser uses Netcraft's database of web site information to show several attributes of any visited site, including its country location, longevity, and popularity.
Those reactive features -- most phishing sites are short-lived, for instance, and typically hosted in countries like China and Russia -- are combined with a site blocker of known phishing URLs, said Netcraft, which updates that database with suspicious site reports from users.
"The Netcraft Toolbar provides you with constantly updated information about the sites you visit as well as blocking dangerous sites," the company said in an online tutorial. "The toolbar provides you with a wealth of information about the sites you visit [which] will help you make an informed choice about the integrity of those sites."
The toolbar, which runs on Windows 2000 and XP, currently works only with IE, although Netcraft said it is working on one for Mozilla's Firefox browser. The plug-in can be downloaded from the Netcraft Web site.