Microsoft plans to release an add-on to MSN Search Toolbar aimed at protecting Web users from phishing scams. The technology is similar to an antiphishing tool the company has previously said will be available in Internet Explorer 7, which is not yet in public release.
The technology will be available in a test release in a few weeks on the MSN Search Toolbar add-ins site, but Osner could not give a more specific time frame for the beta release, or a subsequent production release of the filter. The technology may eventually end up as a permanent feature of the MSN Search Toolbar, but that has yet to be determined, he said.
Published reports Wednesday said that the phishing filter expected to be included in IE 7 would soon be released as a download to MSN Search Toolbar for use with IE 6. However, these reports are only partly true, Osner said in an interview Thursday.
While the underlying technology of the antiphishing tool that is currently available in a beta test version of IE 7 for Windows XP also drives the add-in release that is forthcoming for IE 6, the way the MSN Search Toolbar filter is presented in the user interface is different, he said.
Microsoft, however, apparently did not develop the new feature itself.
“WholeSecurity provides the functionality for the phishing component that is part of IE 7,” said Ann Taylor, a spokesperson for WholeSecurity Inc., the developer, based in Austin, Texas.