August 28, 2005

Microsoft to release 'Phishing Filter'

It looks like Microsoft are about to release their anti-phishing (first mooted months ago here):

WASHINGTON _ Microsoft Corp. will soon release a security tool for its Internet browser that privacy advocates say could allow the company to track the surfing habits of computer users. Microsoft officials say the company has no intention of doing so.

The new feature, which Microsoft will make available as a free download within the next few weeks, is prompting some controversy, as it will inform the company of Web sites that users are visiting.

The browser tool is being called a "Phishing Filter." It is designed to warn computer users about "phishing," an online identity theft scam. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that about 10 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2005, costing the economy $52.6 billion dollars.

What follows in that article is lots of criticsm. I actually agree with that criticism but in the wider picture, it is more important for Microsoft to weigh into the fight than to get it right. We have a crying need to focus the problem on what it is - the failure of security tools and the security infrastructure that Microsoft and other companies (RSADSI, VeriSign, CAs, Mozilla, Opera...) are peddling.

Microsoft by dint of the fact that they are the only large player taking phishing seriously are now the leaders in security thinking. They need to win some I guess.

(Meanwhile, I've reinstated the security top tips on the blog, by popular demand. These tips are designed for ordinary users. They are so brief that even ordinary users should be able to comprehend - without needing further reference. And, they are as comprehensive as I can get them. Try them on your mother and let me know...)

Posted by iang at August 28, 2005 06:19 AM | TrackBack
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