Mozilla has reached the latest development milestone for its next-generation Firefox 2.0 “Bon Echo” browser with a little anti-phishing help from Google.
Anti-phishing capability, which Mozilla has branded “Safe Browsing,” is one of the marquee features in Firefox 2.0 and one of the reasons a third alpha is necessary. Now baked into Firefox 2.0 alpha 3, Google Safe Browsing is triple-licensed under the Mozilla Public License (MPL) 1.1, the GPL 2.0
It is also built into the Google Toolbar, which is available for both Firefox and IE.
Safe Browsing inspects a visited site against a regularly updated list of known
phishing sites. The list of phishing sites may be downloaded automatically
within the browser or can optionally be checked against Google’s online list
of known miscreants.
IE Internet Explorer 7 will also have a form of anti-phishing capability.
The most recent report from the
Anti Phishing Working Group (APWG) found that there were 11,121 unique
phishing attacks in April 2006, which is the highest-ever number for that
metric from the APWG.
Though the Google Safe Browsing code is freely available under open source
licenses, there is a deep relationship between Google and Mozilla. Google is
the employer of a number of key Mozilla staffers, including Firefox’s Lead Engineer Ben Goodger.
Mozilla also receives millions of dollars a year from Google through its search affiliate
Originally, Mozilla developers had anticipated releasing only two alphas
before going into a beta test cycle, but a few features were not quite ready.
The first beta of Firefox 2.0 is scheduled for June and is expected to mark the
“feature frozen” stage of development. This stage locks down the features that will be in the browser for its release later this year.
The beta will also mark the
beginning of wider usage and testing, as the alpha versions are only intended
for developers and limited testing.
Mozilla is expected to update its current stable 1.5.x branch as early
as tomorrow with a 18.104.22.168 security and stability update.