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Microsoft boosts anti-phishing skills of Chrome

Microsoft has released an anti-phishing add-on for Chrome

Microsoft has ceded a significant asset of its Edge internet browser to competing Google by launching an Chrome add-on that enhances Chrome's phishing detection abilities.

The Redmond, Wash. company had little choice, according to one expert. "Phishing is a big issue, and individuals are going to use the internet browser they use," said Michael Cherry of Directions on Microsoft. "They're doing this to secure the Windows community."

Dubbed "Windows Defender Browser Protection" (WDBP) the totally free extension can be added to Chrome on Windows or macOS, and after a post-launch fix, Chrome OS too. Like the defenses built into Edge, the add-on counts on Microsoft's SmartScreen technology that alerts users of potentially harmful websites that may attempt to download malware to the device or of websites connected in email messages that lead to known phishing URLs.

Microsoft keeps a constantly-changing list of these likely bad destinations on its servers, that list created in part from telemetry sent out by SmartScreen users.

With Edge and IE accounting for just a piece of Internet users - Net Applications put it as a combined 18% during March - Microsoft was not getting the quantity of telemetric data, essential to SmartScreen, that it once received. "The easiest explanation of Microsoft's motivation for providing SmartScreen on Chrome is that it provides the company visibility on the bad stuff encountered by the 60% of the market that uses Chrome,"