Security features abound in Firefox 3.5

Mozilla’s latest release of its open-source Web browser is winning praise for its speed, tab handling, and interface improvements. But perhaps the most important set of enhancements are to the browser’s security capabilities. According to Mozilla, the new and improved security features in Firefox 3.5 are:

Improved phishing prevention – Version 3.5 receives 48 updates a day regarding bogus Web sites, and splashes a warning message to keep users from visiting known phishing sites;

Improved malware protection – This release alerts users when they visit sites known for downloading malware, and tells them why they shouldn’t visit. According to Mozilla, the browser checks every aspect of a Web page before loading it;

Instant web site ID – Clicking on a site’s “favicon” gives users an overview of its identity, including how many times that user has visited it, whether the user has a password saved there, and whether the site shows up on lists of suspicious URLs;

Forget this site – This new feature in version 3.5 will remove every piece of evidence from the browser that a user visited a certain site, a capability that end users will love but corporate IT departments might not be so thrilled about;

Improved clear recent history – A few clicks in Firefox 3.5 will clear as little or much of the data stored in the browser as the user would like, from recent browsing activity to complete private data;

Customized security settings – Users can control how much scrutiny they want to give a certain site, and list sites that should be exempt from such inspection;

Add-ons – The browser will ensure a secure connection before allowing an add-on or other third-party software to download;

Password manager – This feature lets users remember site passwords by designating those to be stored at the top of the site page, avoiding being interrupted by pop-ups;

Antivirus integration – Version 3.5 integrates with existing antivirus software so that it automatically checks a file for viruses during download;

Pop-up and pop-under blocker – controls the amount of pop-up and pop-under windows that the browser allows, and lets users designate exceptions.

Combined with the other enhancements to Firefox, these security features give IT departments and individuals a good reason to take version 3.5 for a spin.

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