Modern Web browsers normally do a terrific job of security, but freebie Comodo VerificationEngine takes it several steps further. Designed as an anti-phishing add-on for many browsers, VerificationEngine uses basic color codes (green for go, red for stop) to give you the goods on sites you visit.
VerificationEngine throws up a green border around your browser window and a little green pointer trail animation whenever you visit a site that's the real deal. Additionally, when you visit a secure site (https://), a big logo appears. It points to the padlock icon, telling you details about the site's security certificate--or lack thereof. If a site's security certificate is not exactly correct, VerificationEngine tells you so with a red logo and arrow. When you visit a spoofed site (a site that looks like the real thing, but isn't), the border around your browser glows red. (There's no other notification from the application besides color, so colorblind users may have issues with VerificationEngine.) A simple extra step, and it's free...so why wouldn't you always install VerificationEngine?
There are a few strikes against VerificationEngine, and they may not bother you as much as they bothered me. First, the giant security certificate logo takes up a big portion of the corner of the screen, and you must click it to get rid of it. Clicking or right-clicking on the padlock itself does nothing. Second, the green border doesn't go away unless you right-click, which isn't entirely intuitive. There are a few options to change the color and the border width and turn off the pointer animation, all of which make it a little less intrusive. However, these options are available only from the task bar icon, not from the browser add-on options (which is grayed out). Once these options are set from the task bar icon, they remain in place even after the browser is restarted.
Hackers and phishers are finding new ways to trick you every day, so another barrier between them and you is certainly welcome. If you can get past its minor irritations, VerificationEngine is a useful extra shield.