Microsoft has activated an optional feature that provides download protection for beta users of the Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) browser.
The application reputation service works with the SmartScreen anti-malware service that protects IE8 and IE9 beta users, said Microsoft program manager Ryan Colvin in a blog post.
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The service is aimed at showing more useful warnings when a program is a higher risk and reducing the number of generic, unhelpful warnings consumers see when downloading programs, said Ryan Colvin.
Currently, IE generates warnings for virtually any kind of download, which often results in users ignoring them, he said.
With the reputation service, most users will not see a warning about potential malware more than three times a year, potentially improving their effectiveness.
"By removing unnecessary warnings, the remaining warnings become relevant," he said.
The importance of application reputation is as an early warning system, said Colvin, to plug the gap between the outbreak of a zero-day attack and a security patch being released.
The feature will allow most common applications, but applications that are not widely used will continue to trigger an on-screen message.
Colvin said application developers could ensure the reputation of their applications by digitally signing them with an Authenticode signature and applying for a Windows logo.