Microsoft has introduced a beta version of the latest version of Internet Explorer. The company is emphasising IE 7's new security features designed to cope with the security issues that bedevilled earlier versions of the browser.

The new version integrates Microsoft's Phishing Filter, which informs users if they are visiting known phishing sites, and indicates such by displaying a red shield with a white X on it, the company said on the site.

Phishing involves the theft of personal data, often by duping users into entering that information into a familiar site's interface that is being operated illegally and on an unrelated server.

Designed especially for the delayed Windows Vista operating system, the new browser is intended to address concerns over security risks that were specifically aimed at earlier versions of Internet Explorer, including exploitation of weaknesses that allowed for the theft of personal data and credit card or other account information.

The final version of Internet Explorer 7 is expected to launch around the same time as Vista in 2007.