Opera, the Norwegian-based web browser, has struck a deal with Haute Secure to include malware detection and blocking in the browser’s new 9.5 release. The new version is currently available as a beta, with a final release imminent.
Haute Secure makes software that aggressively monitors and alerts users to malware sites. Besides the version that is being integrated into Opera, Haute is also available as a free plugin for Internet Explorer and Firefox. It differentiates itself from other blocking software by analyzing sites on the link level instead of at the domain level. This means that on very large sites like MySpace that contain a combination of legitimate material along with more sinister profiles, pages will be blocked on a case by case basis instead of simply banning the entire MySpace site. For more details, check out our review of their latest version here.
Opera, while not nearly as popular as Internet Explorer or Firefox, has managed to gain something of a cult following since its original launch in 1996. The browser is widely available on mobile devices (and even on the Nintendo Wii). Because Haute has been integrated into Opera’s base code, the security will also be included in updates for these other platforms. The malware protection comes in addition to phishing protection, which the browser introduced in 2006.
This is a great move on Opera’s part, though it isn’t the first browser to integrate some degree of malware protection – FireFox 3 has integrated a similar feature as well (though it uses a different service). Hopefully we’ll see such protection creep across all browsers until it becomes a standard rather than a feature.