In the past few years, there has been a massive increase in the amount of spam or unwanted email appearing in our inboxes. Anti-spam software is the quick and easy way of solving this problem. However, a more serious threat that is known as Phishing scams. A typical Phishing scam entices you into visiting a phony Web site to gather personal information about you, such as a credit card number. The individuals behind the scam can then use your personal information for criminal use. Essentially, it is a form of identity theft.

What is the Microsoft Phishing Filter
Microsoft has recognized the threat of Phishing scams and in response to the threat, has included the Microsoft Phishing Filter in Internet Explorer 7. It provides you with real-time protection against phony Web sites when you are on the Internet using two key features:

  • Built-in Filter – This component scans the Web sites as you visit them to identify any characteristics commonly associated with Phishing scams.
  • Online Service – This component provides information about Web sites that have been reported as being Phishing scams. This information is updated on the hour.

In this series of articles, I’ll provide more details about the Microsoft Phishing Filter and how it protects you against identity theft.

System Requirements
There are no specific hardware or software requirements for the Phishing Filter. If you upgrade to Internet Explorer 7 or Windows Vista (which includes IE 7), the Phishing Filter is installed automatically. If you are running Windows XP SP 2 with Internet Explorer 6, you can download and install the Phishing Filter separately.

In the next installment of this article we’ll look at how to install the Phishing Filter as a separate add-on in the event that you aren’t planning on upgrading to IE 7 or Windows Vista.

[tags]IE 7, Internet Explorer 7, phish, scam, identity theft, prevent phish, phish attack[/tags]