Audit Clears MS Phishing Filter as Privacy Risk

A third-party audit of the new phishing filter built into the Internet Explorer 7 browser and the MSN Toolbar has given the technology a thumbs up on the sensitive issue of user privacy.

Jefferson Wells International, an IT auditing group, has validated Microsoft’s assurances that the phishing filter does not transmit any personally identifiable information without explicit user consent and that any URL information sent from the user’s browser cannot be traced back to the surfer’s personal information.

The privacy thumbs up is a boost to Microsoft’s mission to market IE 7 as a major security overhaul with features to thwart identity theft and drive-by spyware and Trojan installations.

Microsoft has long insisted the technology does not present a risk to user privacy, but because it uses a mechanism that transmits data to a Microsoft Web service for authentication checks, the company felt the need to call in third-party auditors to verify its claims.

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