Microsoft IE 9 Adds Security to New Download Manager

In IE 9, Microsoft has integrated its SmartScreen Filter with the new Download Manager feature to bolster security.

Microsoft is mixing reputation-based security into the Download Manager feature in Internet Explorer 9 to protect Web surfers.

Microsoft released a beta version of the browser today, putting an emphasis on speed and performance. In the latest edition of the browser, Microsoft has integrated its SmartScreen Filter with Download Manager. The SmartScreen Filter was introduced in IE 8 as a defense against malicious sites. The feature works by checking Websites against a list of known phishing sites, as well as sites that may contain malware.

The integration with Download Manager in IE 9 is meant to leverage reputation to remove unnecessary warnings for well-known files and show more severe warnings when the download has a higher risk of being malicious, Microsoft said in an announcement.

The application reputation scoring will come from same team that does SmartScreen Filter and malvertising tracking at Microsoft, a spokesperson told eWEEK. Both Download Manager and SmartScreen are on by default.

"Users today are often conditioned to ignore generic warnings that are shown for every download," Microsoft said. "Other browsers show the same warning whether a file is an extremely common program or a piece of malware created literally minutes ago. Internet Explorer 9 is the only browser that uses download reputation to help users make safety decisions.

"Because file downloads are the primary way for malicious sites to push malware onto computers, Download Manager makes several security-related checks on downloads: scans for viruses, verifies that an executable file comes from a trusted source and uses reputation data to inform you of potentially dangerous downloads," Microsoft added.

With the Download Manager, users can view the progress of downloads, open content that they've downloaded or cancel a download in progress.

The security capabilities are not fully operational yet, but will be activated "shortly after [the] Beta release without [the] need for users to upgrade," Microsoft said.