Tuesday, November 14, 2006


With IE 7, green means go for legit sites

  • Tuesday, November 14, 2006
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  • Starting early next year, the address bar in Internet Explorer 7 will turn green when surfing to a legitimate Web site--but only in some cases, not all.

    The colored address bar is designed to be a sign that a specific site can be trusted, giving people the green light to carry out transactions there. It is a weapon in the fight against phishing scams, which use fraudulent Web sites.
    High Impact
    What's new:

    Microsoft has adopted brower security guidelines that mean from early next year, the address bar in Internet Explorer 7 will turn green when people visit a legitimate Web site.
    Bottom line:

    Some browser makers and security certificate issuers don't agree with Microsoft over the implementation of the guidelines, which are still in a draft stage. Some small businesses are claiming that the IE 7 move puts them at a competitive disadvantage.

    More stories on Web transaction security

    The idea is among the draft guidelines created by the CA Browser Forum, an organization comprised of companies that issue certificates for Web sites and major browser makers. Last week, Microsoft decided to adopt that draft version for IE 7, released last month. It plans to add the functionality in January.

    A primary concern is to help the targets of online scams, said Markellos Diorinos, a product manager for Windows at Microsoft. "If you look at the phishing problem today, it is usually about all the big brands that get hijacked," he said. "We addressed the problem that we have at hand today, and that was one very important thing for us."

    There is broad agreement in the industry that Web browsers need a better way to identify trusted sites. The familiar yellow padlock icon found on sites today was designed to show that traffic with a Web site is encrypted and that a third party, called a certification authority, has identified the site. However, there's agreement that the system has been weakened by lax standards and loose supervision.

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