Mozilla added two nice new features in Firefox 3 nightlies that should help protect users from phishing attacks. The first feature will be familiar to those of you using the LocationBar2 extension, and it was actually added by the same person who developed the extension. The goal of this feature is to make the domain and subdomains in the URL stand out a little more. Here’s what the URL now looks like when you visit an article on our site:

Firefox 3 URL

As soon as you hover your mouse over the Address Bar all of the text turns to the standard black. This will hopefully make people more aware of the sites they are visiting, and I think that a feature like this should be in every browser. Although I am still a little skeptical whether emphasis should be placed on the subdomain since a lot of fake addresses look like

This feature isn’t exactly like the LocationBar2 extension though, because it does not make the URL navigatable by clicking on different segments. It would have been cool to have this put in Firefox as well, but that is probably a bit much since they want to focus on simplicity.

The second thing that they implemented is an automatic URL-decoding technique to display a more readable address. For example, Firefox 3 will now take a URL like this:

and transform it into this:

Both of those point to the same page, but the first one is encoded a little differently. The second URL is obviously a lot more readable and understandable than the first one, which is why both Internet Explorer and Opera are already setup to "decode" all URL’s that are like the first one. This becomes important when users are subjected to phishing attacks that use complicated URL’s to try and confuse the individual.
Source: The Burning Edge

On a slightly related note Opera Watch recently pointed out a shortcut for the Opera browser which navigates up a folder/directory in the current URL. You can either press Ctrl+Backspace or using a mouse gesture you can hold down the right-click button, and then drag your mouse up and to the left. Doing this would take you from here:

to here: