Opera has released the latest version of its browser, although you may have trouble getting hold of it as the company's website has crashed.

Opera 8 boasts tighter security and the ability to surf the Web with voice commands in the latest version, available for both Windows and Linux.

The company sees security as something it can concentrate on to carve into Microsoft's dominance of the browser market with Internet Explorer. "We think that security is the reason why people would want to switch browsers," said Opera spokesman Eskil Sivertsen.

The desktop browser gives extra information about the identity of websites, automatically activating an information field that gives a level of security from 1 to 3 and listing the certificate owner of the site when the user visits a secure site. The browser can also identify the origins of pop-up sites, Sivertsen said.

"The security field lets regular people check the identity of the site, which the URL matches with the security certificate," Sivertsen said. "With phishing attacks, website spoofing and other forms of online fraud becoming more common, we've seen a great need for this technology."

The Opera browser can be downloaded for free with sponsored banner advertisements. A banner-free version is available for $39.

The previous versions of Opera have 10 million users, according to Sivertsen, but only a fraction of them, 100,000, have opted to pay for the browser.

Along with improving the speed of Opera 8, the new version comes with voice recognition and text-to-speech software, enabling a computer-generated voice to read out text highlighted by the user. It also adjusts Web content to fit a variety of screens or window sizes.