Mozilla Joins Stopbadware Effort

By Matthew Hines  |  Posted 2008-09-18 Print this article Print

The fine folks over at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society have added another powerful ally to their Stopbadware online malware filtering project by snaring Mozilla, makers of the Firefox browser and other open source software, to officially cooperate in the effort.

Mozilla joins the veritable online "who's who" of powerful sponsors that have already committed their time, money and expertise to, which scans the Web for sites that spew nefarious content and then adds them to a list accessed by search engines that then warn users not to visit said URLs.

Long credited for the near-constant work being done to secure its code base to improve the stability and safety of its browsers under the directorship of its esteemed security lead Window Snyder, Mozilla joins the likes of Google, PayPal, Lenovo, VeriSign, AOL and Trend Micro in providing intelligence to Stopbadware.

"Mozilla is proud to partner with, an organization that shares our vision of bringing people together to build open, transparent solutions that respect user choice," John Lilly, Mozilla's chief executive, said in a statement. "This type of collaboration is critical to fighting back against an organized criminal element and ultimately preserving the online user experience."

Indeed it is--and just imagine how powerful Stopbadware will become if other influential entities such as Apple, Microsoft, McAfee, Symantec and Yahoo ever decide to become part of the project's process.

Stopbadware blogger Maxim Weinstein noted that the two organizations have been working together for some time already, with members of the Mozilla team sharing ideas with the researchers during the development of Firefox 3's malware warning screen.

"And we appreciate the work they do to coordinate the massive effort of bringing together contributors to create a viable family of products," Weinstein said. "We look forward to learning from their ability to harness the power of a community to address a global need as we work together to stop the spread of badware."

One of the biggest effects that Stopbadware has had with its work, beyond warning end users to steer clear of dangerous sites, is in pushing U.S.-based registrars and ISPs to keep malware-distributing URLs from surviving on their services.

On a grass roots level, in many cases the smaller mom-and-pop sites that end up on the company's listings don't even realize that their sites have been infected and are distributing questionable content until they are informed of their status by the clearinghouse.

So, kudos to Mozilla for getting more involved, and to Stopbadware for keeping up its good work.

Matt Hines has been following the IT industry for over a decade as a reporter and blogger, and has been specifically focused on the security space since 2003, including a previous stint writing for eWEEK and contributing to the Security Watch blog. Hines is currently employed as marketing communications manager at Core Security Technologies, a Boston-based maker of security testing software. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Core Security, and neither the company, nor its products and services will be actively discussed in the blog. Please send news, research or tips to |

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