As an editor for TechRepublic, my search for information, confirmation of facts, and the general probing for article/blog/download ideas often involves surfing the Web. On one such occasion a couple of years ago, I trashed my workstation PC by clicking a hijacked link on a Google search results page. The link released a malware bomb that loaded all kinds of applets and advertising pop-ups on my PC. We basically had to nuke the hard drive. Fortunately, the tech guy here keeps an image handy for such occasions.

Realizing how much of a problem such incidents were for users, Microsoft put some extra precautions into Internet Explorer 7 to counteract such overt acts of malware exploit. Besides running in protected mode, which prevents installation of software without administrative privilege and user control procedures, there is a Phishing Filter built in to IE7.

But for some reason, it is not defaulted to be turned on. You will probably be asked to turn it on the first time you hit the Windows Vista Welcome Center, but you may have ignored it and just jumped into the Vista GUI experience. It is easy to check whether the Vista Phishing Filter is on, though.

Click on the Tools button located on the right-hand side of the IE7 browser window. Scroll down to the Phishing Filter entry on the drop-down and click it. Click on Turn On Automatic Website Checking.