February 18, 2005

A Blackbird Moment - Microsoft confirms phishing is an attack on the browser

17th February 2005. Bill Gates has just spoken at the RSA security conference:

"Microsoft's chairman and chief software architect announced plans for an updated Internet Explorer 7.0 browser and a slew of other initiatives to bolster security in Microsoft products. Reacting to increased phishing, spyware, and malicious software (commonly known as malware) being directed against the IE browser, Gates said that Microsoft now plans to release "a new IE 7 with added levels of security" in mid-2005 rather than include the new browser in the next version of Windows, code-named Longhorn, due in 2006."

"Gates promised that the new IE would add protection from "Internet-enabled social engineering" scams like phishing, a prevalent type of online attack in which spammers send e-mail messages to dupe recipients into visiting fraudulent Web pages that look like legitimate e-commerce sites to steal sensitive personal information such as passwords and credit card details."

Back in the early 90s, seeing the Internet evolve was quite extraordinary. It was the social and technical revolution of our times. I used to tell everyone this, how this shift was as big as Gutenberg. Of course, people who spend all their time on the net rant a lot.

And then, one night, Bill Gates canned Blackbird.

A decade later, we don't even know what that is, but in that one event, the biggest force in software rewrote the whole rule book of computing and communications. They went from competing with the greatest force of our time to joining it, in one evening demo. Ever since that moment, there was no longer a battle to explain to people. The battle was won, the Internet was one, ours for evermore.

Yesterday's announcement is a Blackbird Moment. When Microsoft announces that they are releasing a new browser with new phishing defences, no longer is there any debate about what phishing is. It's an attack on the browser. That's it, that's what it is.

And now we can get one with the hard work of fixing it. But at least we know what to fix.

Posted by iang at February 18, 2005 02:21 PM | TrackBack
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