A customer service representative does his taxes between calls. A saleswoman plays an occasional game of Internet backgammon during the day. The office manager spends time surfing the Web, looking for just the right pair of shoes.
Those scenarios may be disturbing enough to company executives-after all, it does cut down on productivity-but that should be the least of their worries. More worrisome, by far, is the possibility that in visiting one of those sites, an employee downloads an infected piece of code or invites spyware onto the corporate network.
Neither vendors nor end users are taking the danger lightly. Microsoft has embedded what it calls a Phishing Filter in Windows Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Windows Vista. The filter scans Web addresses and Web pages for characteristics associated with known online Web fraud or phishing scams. Similarly, Mozilla has announced that the next version of Firefox will include protection against malicious downloads from Web sites.