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Small Businesses Worry About MS Anti-Phishing

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the green-means-good dept.

Security 291

prostoalex writes "Ever get that warm feeling of safety, when the anti-phishing toolbar on Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 turns green, telling you it's safe to shop on the site you're visiting? Well, you probably don't, but the millions of Internet users who will soon be running IE7 probably will be paying attention to the anti-phishing warnings. WSJ.com is reporting on how Microsoft is making it tough for small businesses to assure they're treated properly by the anti-phishing algorithm." From the article: "[S]ole proprietorships, general partnerships and individuals won't be eligible for the new, stricter security certificates that Microsoft requires to display the color. There are about 20.6 million sole proprietorships and general partnerships in the U.S... though it isn't clear how many are engaged in e-commerce... 'Are people going to trust the green more than white? Yes, they will,' says Avivah Litan, an analyst at Gartner Inc. and an expert on online payments and fraud. 'All the business is going to go to the greens, it's kind of obvious.'"

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WTF? Phising and certs are different issues. (5, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17306842)

'Are people going to trust the green more than white? Yes, they will,' says Avivah Litan, an analyst at Gartner Inc. and an expert on online payments and fraud.

WTF? Shouldn't that read:

'Are people going to notice the green or than white? No, they wont,' says WMF, an analyst at slashdot Inc. and an expert on stupid punditry.

On a slightly different note, I think the submitter has gotten the new expensive secure certs gold-rush/scam confused with the anti-phishing tech. Not surprising 'cause the article melds them together in a rather confusing manner.

Re:WTF? Phising and certs are different issues. (4, Funny)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17306970)

You even used bad grammar and spelling, like a Slashdot editor!

Re:WTF? Phising and certs are different issues. (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307000)

You even used bad grammar and spelling, like a Slashdot editor!

Yuo say that as if Im capable of something else using!

Re:WTF? Phising and certs are different issues. (5, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307322)

Now there is a tangable commercial interest in creating phishing sites.

Huge corporations that quietly invest money in polluting the internet with phishing sites that create an environment where "white = tangably untrustworthy" will see returns on their investment because this exists.

There was a business model in polluting the P2P networks so they become inefficient services. Then there were businesses that did it. Now there is a new business model. What comes next, you think?

Re:WTF? Phising and certs are different issues. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17307148)

I think any comment about IE7's anti-phishing system should note that it sends every website you visit to Microsoft. If you care even an iota about the privacy of your web browsing, you should choose "no" when IE7 asks you to enable its invasive anti-phishing system.

Re:WTF? Phising and certs are different issues. (5, Insightful)

thinkliberty (593776) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307290)

This can also work 2 ways.

Users favorite deal sites can display an error message to IE7 users that tells them their browser is defective and that in order for them to keep prices low, they will need to upgrade their web browser to Firefox to purchase anything from the site. They can also have a continue anyways button and store a cookie to not display the message again. That way when there is no green bar the users will know it is because they are not using an approved browser.

YAY for Microsoft, let them shoot themselves in the foot.

going to have come up with a better way (4, Interesting)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17306888)

Microsoft may think they've solved a problem and maybe they have, but this could be creating a bigger problem, though as usual it'll be no skin off of Microsoft's nose.

Microsoft's stance (FTA):

Microsoft says green shouldn't be considered a seal of approval, but rather a sign that the site owner is a legitimate business.

It may not be formal logic (all farmers wear overalls, therefor if I wear overalls.... (hint: I am not a farmer)), but most internet users are going to make the simple logical leap and assume that not "green" implies not legitimate.

It's easy for Microsoft to skate... they don't live the existence of normal business - it's a shame they have so much input into what others' business rules look like. This probably isn't fair. There has to be a legitimate way to become legitimate.

Re:going to have come up with a better way (5, Insightful)

coolgeek (140561) | more than 7 years ago | (#17306918)

I think there will be an obstruction of trade class action suit filed against Microsoft for this.

Heh... watch the MSFT lawyers... (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307302)

as they demonstrate browsing the web with FireFox - Look, your honor, there are not green/white/yellow/red indicators!

Re:going to have come up with a better way (3, Interesting)

tonywong (96839) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307052)

So Microsoft has decided that whitelisting companies is a good idea, and everyone else is to be lumped into a greylist and blacklist area? No wonder the individuals in the grey zone are peeved, the association with blacklist websites alone will tank sales.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17307204)

That's how you make your buying decisions? For me when making a purchase I try to make some attempt to understand who I'm dealing with. This doesn't prevent that. It simply gives consumers one more tool. A device to allow them to allocate their attentions with more judiciously. Odds are if I'm dealing with dave53.com/cart.cgi? they've probably got something going on that isn't more convieniently and reliably available elsewhere. Maybe it's a prior relationship that they've carefully cultivated (something small business are very good at). The green-ness or white-ness of IE 7 won't be playing much of a role in my decision to go forward.

A device that automatically recommends people be more aware of who they're dealing with isn't a bad thing so long as it's accurate. It's not like banks serving small businesses can't get into the act offering services to vouch for their clients. The only people this can significantly hurt are business which were doomed to fail in anycase, and scammers. Both groups will probably only be impacted modestly in any event.

Re:Really? (3, Interesting)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307514)

The only people this can significantly hurt are business which were doomed to fail in anycase, and scammers.

But doesn't TFA say that many of the people that will be doomed to fail are legitimate businesses like Aunt Joy Christmas stockings? Though Microsoft will claim they're not. She won't be green. She'll lose business. It's small businesses that will hurt.

Re:Really? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17307766)

TFA says some bullshit. The people looking for Auntie's Christmas stockings don't have anywhere else to go. Presumably they're they're looking for her because they don't want something made in a Chinese prison camp. If the latter was what they wanted they would have gone to Wal*Mart and been back already. No legitimate business which had a chance of succeeding will be materially harmed. No one bought a Christmas stocking from her previously because they mistakenly believed she was a giant multinational conglomerate. In fact doubtless many of her customers were looking for the EXACT opposite. They found in her someone they estimated was worth taking a chance on. What Microsoft's anti-phishing tool does in NO WAY interferes with that. She won't be green, she likely will not be able to estimate how much business she lost with any accuracy or precision. She may claim Microsoft stole her business and count it as "lost sales" in a way very similar the music industry does with "piracy". The only difference is there won't be digital copies of her stockings hiding on people's computers.

When evaluating "trust" the green-ness of IE isn't very primary to the process. This is a problem that has been with man since he started drilling holes in seashells, all Microsoft did was add another tool to give IE users more information about who they're dealing with. It's not particularly specific, but that doesn't preclude it from being a useful method to prompt people to focus their attentions. Consumers with information and choices isn't bad. If her stockings are so expensive, shoddy, ugly, and unreliably available that even a little bit more information in the hands of potential customers is threatening to her business, it was a doomed venture which was wasting people's time anyway.

She reminds me of my insane neighbor who when a tree from her property hit MY house was upset I could find her public tax records on-line. The horrors! I was saved a trip, conspiracy! Saving people time and allowing them to make better considered decision is the very essence of creating wealth.

Re:Really? (1, Insightful)

max born (739948) | more than 7 years ago | (#17308060)

You claim the article contains bullshit and state:

[N]o one bought a Christmas stocking from her previously because they mistakenly believed she was a giant multinational conglomerate...

yet you offer no reason or evidence and completely fail to support your arguments. How about you tell us why you're right and the WSJ is wrong.

Re:Really? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307804)

That's how you make your buying decisions?

Personally, no, but it is how a lot of people are likely to make decisions. That's the point.

A device that automatically recommends people be more aware of who they're dealing with isn't a bad thing so long as it's accurate.

Fortunately, our experience with RBLs shows that they never make mistakes, and small businesses never get seriously hurt by them.

It's not like banks serving small businesses can't get into the act offering services to vouch for their clients.

Ah, a good, old-fashioned protection racket. I'm so glad they're still alive and well, even in these high-tech times.

The only people this can significantly hurt are business which were doomed to fail in anycase, and scammers.

Yes, because small businesses are never successful unless they're scammers.

Re:going to have come up with a better way (2, Informative)

KingPunk (800195) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307242)

i work for bank of america's online banking division. and we are all too familiar with the "false postive" of the IE7 Phishing site notification.

usually caused by somebody not noticing that they actually are on the correct site, and just say "hmm, must be a phishing" site. or worse yet.. "this isnt a phishing site, so i'll click it so it doesnt ask me again."
needless to say, its a nightmare, espically for somebody who could potentially lose busisness to this issue.

there must be a check & balance sort of situation available for this.

Re:going to have come up with a better way (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307870)

there must be a check & balance sort of situation available for this.

There is. The three branches of economy are:

1) Seller
2) Buyer
3) Money

All must agree to complete the transaction. And guess what? The buyer has all the marbles. If the seller wants the buyers money, he must convince him to give it up. The problem is that the buyers are too easy. If you want to keep shoddy (shady) products off the streets, don't buy them. It doesn't get much simpler than that. Don't argue with the seller, do what you can to educate the buyers. If they don't go along, well, then you're SOL. There is no doubt that buyers can control the market.

Re:going to have come up with a better way (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307452)

"it's a shame they have so much input into what others' business rules look like"

Yeah like E-commerce sites hosted with IIS will be favored over Apache hosted sites.

Yeah, they will. (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17306892)

Gartner's a bunch of hacks, sure, but they've got a point. "Green means good" is something that is easily hammered into the heads of the l^Husers who'll be dumb enough to use IE7. Unless they've got a really good reason to buy from a site that isn't "Microsoft Approved," they won't.

I doubt it'll be a huge difference, but it'll be noticeable.

Re:Yeah, they will. (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307062)

Green means good is pretty standard. Don't go berating the users for making that jump.

Don't confuse ignorance with stupidity. There is a world of difference.

Re:Yeah, they will. (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307088)

Sure, there's a difference. But many people I've shown Firefox to (yes, anecdotal, but I've heard too many similar reports to discount it) have said "but it's not Internet Explorer, so I don't want it."

Those are the aforementioned lusers, and the ones who I was referring to.

Re:Yeah, they will. (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307232)

"Green means good" is something that is easily hammered into the heads of the l^Husers who'll be dumb enough to use IE7.

"Green means good" when you are running McAfee SiteAdvisor for Firefox.

The solution for small business will be to market through a strong co-op or an established corporate partner like Amazon or eBay. The benefits are obvious and a phishing filter can't do much more than push things along a little faster.

Re:Yeah, they will. (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307304)

> The solution for small business will be to market through a strong co-op or
> an established corporate partner like Amazon or eBay. The benefits are obvious

Yes. Control. Amazon and Ebay can suck off most of the profits and prevent the small businesses from growing into competitors.

Smart enough to notice that green toolbar (4, Insightful)

namityadav (989838) | more than 7 years ago | (#17306912)

I hope a user smart enough to notice and use the phishing feature of IE, would be smart enough to use Firefox instead

Re:Smart enough to notice that green toolbar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17307104)

Or perhaps smart enough not to fall for a phishing scam?

Re:Smart enough to notice that green toolbar (1)

mottie (807927) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307768)

it's pretty hard not to notice it. when you start IE7 for the first time it asks you if you want to turn it on, and yes is the default. it's not hidden away in an obscure menu system or anything like that.

extortion (1)

brenddie (897982) | more than 7 years ago | (#17306916)

This feels like extortion. If you dont pay up you wont get any bussiness. I know this shouldnt be but people are dumb and will believe anything. Just wait till we get the "turn-address-bar-green-exploit" and then the fun starts.

Re:extortion (4, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17306994)

This isn't even a problem of "paying up".... the small one-person companies don't even qualify to get certified for the green status... no amount of money will anoint them. This is where is starts to be unfair.

Why is this unfair? (2, Interesting)

raehl (609729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307638)

If you can't get a certificate as a sole proprietorship, INCORPORATE! Problem solved.

Nobody is making anyone run their business as a sole proprietorship. And this day in this sue-happy age, there's plenty of other reasons incorporation is a good idea.

Re:Why is this unfair? (4, Interesting)

lordkuri (514498) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307948)

Bullshit. Why should I be forced to spend more money when a Sole Proprietorship is JUST AS LEGITIMATE as a Corporation. Matter of fact, a lot of people tend to think that a sole prop. is *more* legitimate, from years of dicking from most major corporations.

Re:extortion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17306998)

Are the small businesses having to pay microsoft for the certification? No, its the certificate authorities like verisign that get paid, ergo not extortion.

Re:extortion (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307294)

Are the small businesses having to pay microsoft for the certification? No, its the certificate authorities like verisign that get paid, ergo not extortion.

So if I insist that someone give my friend money, or I'll threaten their ability to do business, it's not extortion because I'm not the one getting paid?

I'll have to remember that one!

Re:extortion (0, Troll)

fire_missionary (989800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307512)

So... if microsoft is the 'lackey' to the verisign, or whoever, who would be the 'boss'

leads me to think that if you 'do a favor' for a mob leader, you are in the right because you are not getting paid for it.

lets take this further... remember WWII? all those german soldiers that were 'just following orders'? hmm... they were in the right.

and further...

If i kill your children because you stole money from my friend, then im free to go because im not getting paid.

i could go further... but then it'd become a tl;dr article.

I love anonymous cowards.

On second thought... im just crazy and id kill your children if you flipped me off... heh. must have brainz

Oversize Catch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17306954)

I wonder if Microsoft considers people reselling their old copies of XP and 98 to be phishing?

Or doing anything Microsoft doesn't agree with?

Otherwise there could be a big resale market when Vista comes out?

Given the fact (2, Insightful)

gillbates (106458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17306962)

That even Microsoft itself has allowed its security certificates to lapse in the past, I don't think this is going to mean much. As soon as the address bar goes white when getting updates from microsoft.com, people will start to ignore it.

Besides, the user sophisticated enough to notice the difference probably won't care - by now, he's already got a set of favorite bargain sites, and when their address bar stays white, he'll just assume they're too cheap to buy the MS cert. After all, how *do* they undercut the competition?

And I'm guessing that most people - if they notice at all - will not be any more cautious. After all, that's what they bought anti-virus for, right? I'd be willing to bet that the average user believes AV software protects them from everything bad that could happen when using a computer.

Re:Given the fact (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307218)

That even Microsoft itself has allowed its security certificates to lapse in the past

Hell, Microsoft has allowed some of its major domain names to lapse.... hotmail.co.uk and passport.com

Re:Given the fact (2, Interesting)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307668)

Actually I think the bigger problem is that Microsoft and Verisign in the past have allowed a completely valid, high-grade signing certificate with Microsoft's own corporate identity to be issued to crackers (see http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,45284-page,1/art icle.html [pcworld.com] or the more authoritative http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin /MS01-017.mspx [microsoft.com] for details). Note that a class-3 code-signing certificate was one of the more secure grades Verisign issues, it's not their standard e-mail-address-only ones. So how long until the bad guys start getting their own EV-SSL certificates and make the whole scheme not merely useless but advantageous to the phishers?

Countdown (4, Insightful)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#17306990)

Countdown to the phisher finding a way to subvert the system and obtain legitimate certs to green-light their scam sites :
4 [microsoft.com] ... 3 [cert.org] ... 2 [cert.org] ... 1 [grok.org.uk] ...

Re:Countdown (1)

RodgerDodger (575834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307518)

Exactly. The only certain effect here is that the scammers will find a way to either create or emulate the green light.

Re:Countdown (2, Interesting)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307892)

"A way" already exists, and it's called XSS, or Cross-Site Scripting [wikipedia.org] . It's all a matter of how secure any given "green light" site is, which means the "green light" is borderline worthless, from an anti-phishing standpoint anyway. There are even vulnerabilities which do not require any social engineering, such as a vulnerability in the user reviews section of a business's website, or something similar.

So really, like the padlock "secure" icon (which tells you only that you're on a an encrypted connection, and is meaningless if the target site has been compromised), it's just presenting a false sense of security, while at the same time giving small businesses a small stain on their reputation.

How does the Phishing thing work? (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307002)

Okay, as someone who doesn't typically use IE7 I honestly have no idea how this thing works, and my tests (going to amazon.com) didn't reveal any green or anything with the phishing thing turned on. I noticed that the article talked about the filter as though a new certificate was required, yet when I looked up how it worked it seemed like the filter actually evaluated each page on the spot and used heuristics to determine if it looked suspicious or not.

Now then I know MS is going to get some major bashings here, because most /. users seem to have that built into their genome, but I wonder if perhaps the article is a bit biased. Does anyone know whether or not a new certificate is required to get a green rating? MS's information seems to say green means IE doesn't think it's phishing, this article seems to say that green means it has a new certificate, who's right?

Re:How does the Phishing thing work? (5, Informative)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307228)

Actually there's two issues -- site verification and anti-phishing -- which are getting mashed together because they act on a similar concept (how much can I trust this site?) and display through the color in the address bar.

White is the default state, and says nothing about the site.
Red is when the site matches a blacklist of known phishing sites. (If you have the antiphishing turned on, it will check with MS each time you load a new page.)
Green is when the site uses one of these new SSL certificates which provides additional data and (supposedly) has a tougher approval process in which the certificate authority does an actual background check on the company instead of just making sure they have a working phone number. One hopes a blacklist hit will trump this.

A secure site that uses a standard SSL cert and is not a known phisher will have a white location bar.

Re:How does the Phishing thing work? (1)

Vengeance_au (318990) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307414)

Nice summary of the article (which did drift a bit...) but I wonder where this continued adherance to red = bad green = good comes from? 7-10% of all males are red/green colour blind [wikipedia.org] - red/green on traffic lights is fine, as you have positional information to assist. The URL bar in green or red will look identical to those with colour blindness. And while on the topic, why display the "known phishing" site at all - why not completely block the site and redirect to a guide-to-avoiding phishing, or something? What am I missing???

Re:How does the Phishing thing work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17307506)

Pretty much all that you're missing is that whenever there's a state other than the default white, the address bar gets an extra box of alertiness, and the whole page turns into a warning (see here [microsoft.com] ). This happens for certificate errors as well, which definately beats the click-through warnings that most browsers display in such a case.

Re:How does the Phishing thing work? (2, Informative)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307510)

Sorry, I forgot to mention that it does block access to a "red" site with an "are you sure you want to visit this?" warning. The initial design of the phishing filter is described on IEBlog [msdn.com] . Some details have probably changed since then, but that's the basic way it works in the final version.

damned if they do, damned if they don't (2, Insightful)

Darkon (206829) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307006)

If you make certificates too easy to obtain then every phisher and his dog will just buy one and create a false impression of legitimacy. If you try too hard to restrict them to bona fide companies then you risk shutting out the mom and pop outfits. What's the answer?

Anyone what approach Firefox takes compared to IE7 here?

Re:damned if they do, damned if they don't (1)

The-Ixian (168184) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307244)

Not being integrated into the OS at a low level is a big plus

Re:damned if they do, damned if they don't (3, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307270)

What's the answer?

Don't bother implementing any kind of "anti-phishing" crap and let the buyer be responsible for his own damn self for a change!

Re:damned if they do, damned if they don't (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17308044)

If you make certificates too easy to obtain then every phisher and his dog will just buy one and create a false impression of legitimacy. If you try too hard to restrict them to bona fide companies then you risk shutting out the mom and pop outfits. What's the answer?

Don't overload the certificate concept. If you make it clear that all an SSL cert means is that no one is listening in on the conversation between your browser and the website (assuming your machine and the server aren't compromised themselves) then the easy cert doesn't create that false impression.

Anyone what approach Firefox takes compared to IE7 here?

AFAIK, Firefox does not treat EV SSL certs differently from normal SSL certs. This may change, particularly if Microsoft can convince end-users that "greenlighting" EV SSL certs is a good thing, at which point people will start complaining about Firefox being insecure because it doesn't turn the address bar green.

Sole Proprietorship (3, Insightful)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307012)

The Forum excluded sole proprietorships, general partnerships and individuals because its members couldn't agree on criteria for validating them effectively, something some members said can be difficult.

From TFA, this is the reasoning behind the stocking saleswoman's problems. Now, I tend to disagree that it's difficult to find criteria for validating a Proprietorship, since I've formed one myself. While getting the trade certificate and license to collect tax are easy, obtaining a valid small business bank account is not. I'm thinking that those 3 taken as a whole should be enough information to determine whether the Proprietorship in question exists and is doing legitimate business, at least here in Canada.

I don't think Microsoft screwed up here, incredibly enough. They've released a new product based on standards (of all things!). It doesn't erroneously display this woman's site in yellow or red, and it will correctly display it in green when the forum which determined the new certificate standard makes it available to Proprietorships. The article accuses Microsoft of tilting the online commerce playing field heavily toward big business again, but this isn't really Microsoft's fault. I agree that the new certificate standard should have included everyone from the get-go, but you can't fault Microsoft for building this useful feature on the latest standard.

mandelbr0t

Re:Sole Proprietorship (3, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307378)

> While getting the trade certificate...

Not required in the US.

> ...and license to collect tax...

Not every US state has sales tax (and in those that do many goods and services are exempt).

> ...obtaining a valid small business bank account is not.

There is nothing especially special about a "small business bank account" here.

Re:Sole Proprietorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17307928)

While getting the trade certificate and license to collect tax are easy, obtaining a valid small business bank account is not.

Funny, I found creating a small business bank account as easy as handing over the minimum deposit. Figuring out all the licenses and tax papers was the confusing part for me.

Oh ohhh (1)

maxrate (886773) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307030)

I smell class action lawsuit! (for real, I'm not joking!) - this is a BIG deal.

That being said, I really think the SSL authorities should REALLY check out who they are giving certs too.

Re:Oh ohhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17307112)

You mean like they have been paid to do, but don't? Certification is just a scam, they make credit card liability max out at $50 for a reason.

Gartner are idiots, so relax (4, Insightful)

roca (43122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307036)

Users will quickly learn to ignore the status bar color just like they've learned to ignore all other security warnings (thanks to expired certificates and other false negatives we throw in their face every day).

Re:Gartner are idiots, so relax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17307124)

False positives, maybe?

Re:Gartner are idiots, so relax (1)

roca (43122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307318)

Yeah, I guess.

DING DING DING (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17307320)

You win the Obvious Outcome Award, congratulations.

Extortion or opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17307078)

pay up or form a rival gang to hack the green bar

bonding (2, Interesting)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307098)

I agree with Microsoft, actually; it can be difficult to take what looks like a perfectly legitimate business and guarantee that they aren't actually sniffing for your personal information. But only labeling large businesses as "safe" will indeed put serious burdens on smaller companies.

Perhaps Microsoft could allow for companies who wish to "go green" to purchase a certain amount insurance from established bonding companies assuring shoppers that their information won't go awry. Bonding companies know how best to deal with this sort of risk; they would subject their client companies to audits, making sure servers were secure and weren't caching the wrong sort of data.

Spend the extra time and setup your biz correctly! (4, Informative)

Silicon_Knight (66140) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307120)

I'm a small businses owner, and guess what, I would have ZERO problems with this "green bar" policy.

Reason? I made damn sure that I'm incorporated as either a limited liability company (L.L.C) (www.3dprints4less.com - not up yet) or a S-corporation (www.seattleprototypes.com).

In this day and age of litigation, there is NO reason why if you're going into businses you should even consider sole proprietarship or general partnership agreement. IANAL, but go pick up any of the Nolo self-help books (recomemnded by lawyer friends) and they make it clear: The LLC and corp status is a bit more paperwork to upkeep, but offers MUCH better protection for the business owners. As a sole proprietarship, you are personally liable - down to your last nickel in your bank account, if your business incurs any liabilities. As a general partnership, you would be personally held liable for not only your business's liabilities, but the action of your partners well (if your partner racks up a debt, skips town, and the creditor have easy access to you - guess who's in the hot seat).

Not to mention, there's huge benifits you can get tax wise, from being a corporation or LLC. Corporate tax rates are a heck of a lot lower for one!

So, Aunt Joy making custom stockings, please, go pick up a self help book and get your business setup properly. This way some slimebag ambulance chaser can't sue you out of the house you're growing old in when some irresponsible parent let their kid chew off a bit of the stocking and the kid chokes on it.

-=- Terence

Re:Spend the extra time and setup your biz correct (4, Interesting)

Ashtead (654610) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307254)

But is Microsoft the right one to enforce this? Even if sole proprietorship or general partnership might be inadvisable, it isn't illegal, and Microsoft or anyone else who is not the government has absolutely no jurisdiction and no mandate to make it so.

Something seems definitely out of bounds here...

Re:Spend the extra time and setup your biz correct (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307448)

Microsoft isn't enforcing, or mandating anything. They're just making best-guess suggestions. At this point, anything like this will only help users. I agree with the parent. If you can't get your shit together enough to form a simple LLC, then I know that I wouldn't spend money with you.

Re:Spend the extra time and setup your biz correct (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307538)

But is Microsoft the right one to enforce this? Even if sole proprietorship or general partnership might be inadvisable, it isn't illegal, and Microsoft or anyone else who is not the government has absolutely no jurisdiction and no mandate to make it so.

Something seems definitely out of bounds here...


What, like the fact that it's a free market and whoever provides the 'safest' service has a leg up? (notice safest is in quotes) Seems pretty normal to me. What exactly is out of bounds about this? And, by out of bounds I hope you literally mean illegal, because everything else is considered in bounds. I personally don't even think it's unethical. It's just business.

And nobody is enforcing the creation of LLCs. Like someone else has said already, plenty of people will come to ignore the green bar altogether. And like another person said, how long do you think it will take for this to get completely hacked to allow phishing sites themselves to be green-bar? If anything, I predict it's a 'feature' that won't last very long. False senses of security are worse than having no sense of security. As soon as word gets out that the green bar was hacked it loses all credibility. You get right back to word-of-mouth and reviews/testimonials from trusted sources to get information about what websites are good and bad and you trust no others. It's that simple.

TLF

Re:Spend the extra time and setup your biz correct (1)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307262)

So how much are you willing to pay to get your "green" cert from MS?

Re:Spend the extra time and setup your biz correct (3, Insightful)

Silicon_Knight (66140) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307446)

RTFA.

You don't get a "green" cert. You get an EV-SSL, or, Extended Verification SSL. It's not like MS invented something horrible to extort money out of people. FYI, Firefox and Opera implements anti-phishing toolbars as well.

http://www.digicert.com/ev-ssl-certification.htm [digicert.com]

And, guess what? cost of the EV-SSL, along with payments to banks, credit card processors, etc... are just a part of the cost of doing business.

-=- Terence

Re:Spend the extra time and setup your biz correct (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17307850)

And, guess what? cost of the EV-SSL, along with payments to banks, credit card processors, etc... are just a part of the cost of doing business.

And so we're back to "Nice site you have there, it'd be a shame if we told everyone who visited it you were a scammer." Of course, back when it was the mafia that charged to make sure nothing terrible happened, it was "just a part of the cost of doing business" too.

Have any other artificial barriers to business you'd like to construct while we're at it?

Re:Spend the extra time and setup your biz correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17307278)

Well, as long as it works for you, I guess there's no problem.

Re:Spend the extra time and setup your biz correct (1)

pll178 (544842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307478)

Have you ever heard of a "close corporation" or "piercing the corporate veil?" Call up one of your lawyer friends and ask them how safe you really are...

Re:Spend the extra time and setup your biz correct (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307536)

Call up one of your lawyer friends and ask them how safe you really are...

      Of course, the Cayman Islands, Jersey and Switzerland help a lot...

Re:Spend the extra time and setup your biz correct (1)

Bitsy Boffin (110334) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307614)

Hey mate, the world doesn't end at the US borders. In other parts of the world being a sole trader is common and accepted you need do nothing to "get in business", no forms to fill, nothing to apply for, you just wake up one morning and start "in business". It is a legal structure for a business, why treat it any less legitimately than another.

Re:Spend the extra time and setup your biz correct (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307738)

As a sole proprietarship, you are personally liable - down to your last nickel in your bank account, if your business incurs any liabilities.

As a sole proprietor, shouldn't you have enough control over your business to guard against this? And shouldn't you be moral enough to *want* to actually pay your liabilities when you do something wrong?

I've never understood why society allows LLCs and S-corporations to begin with- seems like a huge opportunity for con artists to take advantage of everybody else.

Re:Spend the extra time and setup your biz correct (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307966)

With all the frivolous litigation going on, about the only way to effectively and economically guard against it is to move offshore.

Re:Spend the extra time and setup your biz correct (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307998)

With all the frivolous litigation going on, about the only way to effectively and economically guard against it is to move offshore.

While I understand the basic concept- the frivolous litigation wouldn't be anything like what it is if businesses operated morally to begin with.

Re:Spend the extra time and setup your biz correct (2, Insightful)

Draknor (745036) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307984)

As a sole proprietor, shouldn't you have enough control over your business to guard against this? And shouldn't you be moral enough to *want* to actually pay your liabilities when you do something wrong?

It's just a legal framework -- and no, you can never have "enough control" to guard against this. In a sole proprietorship, you are not legally distinct from your business, so any liabilities against the business can be taken out of your personal accounts. Assuming you are a legitimate business owner trying to make a profit (not just a shell corporation trying to avoid taxes), your biggest risk (I'm guessing) is from frivolous lawsuits. Somebody slips on the sidewalk in front of your storefront and sues your business for gajillion dollars. Assuming they win & your business can't pay up, it comes out of your personal savings account (or other assets). It's the same reason people carry umbrella liability insurance -- because we can't guard against the stupidity & greed of other people.

Re:Spend the extra time and setup your biz correct (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17308034)

It's just a legal framework -- and no, you can never have "enough control" to guard against this. In a sole proprietorship, you are not legally distinct from your business, so any liabilities against the business can be taken out of your personal accounts. Assuming you are a legitimate business owner trying to make a profit (not just a shell corporation trying to avoid taxes), your biggest risk (I'm guessing) is from frivolous lawsuits.

The reason frivolous lawsuits exist is because business owners attempt to skimp out on their responsibilities to begin with. If you acted morally towards the people coming on to your property there'd be no grounds for a lawsuit.

Somebody slips on the sidewalk in front of your storefront and sues your business for gajillion dollars.

At which point you take pictures of the salt you put down, and there's no way they can win in court. Decided to take a larger profit and forgo putting salt down? Well, that was YOUR mistake.

Assuming they win & your business can't pay up, it comes out of your personal savings account (or other assets).

As well it should, if you were guilty. That's called REPENTANCE for those of us who believe in forgiveness.

It's the same reason people carry umbrella liability insurance -- because we can't guard against the stupidity & greed of other people.

So why not just carry standard property owner liability insurance and be done with it?

Re:Spend the extra time and setup your biz correct (1)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307894)

So, Aunt Joy making custom stockings, please, go pick up a self help book and get your business setup properly.

I'm sure Aunt Joy would love to, as would I, but neither of us can absorb the $500 filing fee. Stockings just ain't that profitable.

Re:Spend the extra time and setup your biz correct (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307938)

Taxes are a reason not to incorporate, at least in my state. A former boss incorporated for self-protection and the need to pay taxes quarterly nearly drove him under, since the computer-repair business can be rather seasonal.

Hmmmmm (0, Redundant)

segedunum (883035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307146)

Sounds like an extortion racket to me. Another day, another Microsoft money making scheme all from the monopoly which Microsoft has on browsers which comes from their desktop OS monopoly.

And Bill Gates said there was no way to make money from security. Kind of lets you know why Microsoft eventually took security seriously.

Green hack (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307176)

So how long till the first hack that turns IE green?

Doh!

Re:Green hack (2, Interesting)

rjdegraaf (712353) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307600)

What about a window without an address bar, but with an image which looks like an address bar.

Well... (1)

kosmosik (654958) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307188)

Well this is quite easy issue. For MSIE that is MS that says what site is OK or no. So there is convicted monopoly laveraging it's monopoly again trying to protect me (and by the way doing their own business with filters).

On the other side is Fx or Opera using third party blacklists (since they do browsers not other stuff like lists).

So the difference between MSIE+MS filters is that both come from the same monopoly. Fx or Opera use third party data (assuming that is not the same benefit for them) for filtering *bad* websites.

The Subject of my post is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17307192)

If the bar turns green for Sony, Amazon, Microsoft, LexusNexus, etc., then I know not to trust it. Once you try white, you take another bite.

Phishing sites as third party blacklist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17307272)

Can someone please explain why there aren't any third party blacklists to warn about phishing, like there are for spam filters? And if there are, where can we go to find them?

The moral of the story.... (1)

mormop (415983) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307332)

If you run a small business put a heading saying "Best viewed with Mozilla Firefox or Opera" and put "Get Firefox" and "Get Opera" buttons at the top. You can also add a bit text explaining that while the page will work in IE, it'll be improved by the other two.

You could always add a bit of blurb on how dodgy IE is if you want to rub salt in.

Real smart! (1)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307382)

Lets not give small businesses a green bar. Of course small business generates 60+% of sales in the U. S. annually, but we don't care if we alienate them. Typical MS attitude. How they got so powerful and remain so clueless amazes me.

Re:Real smart! (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307528)

The small business owners could revert to the old 1997 methodology where they can display a logo "Site works best with Firefox" AND make a buck on the download instead of those older "Works best with IE" logos.

infiltrate (-1, Offtopic)

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Only Microsoft says who is green. (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307568)

In Capitalist West Microsoft talks of treated properly by algorithm. In Soviet Union Helsinki Accords also talks of rights for you!

target non-IE users (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307592)

If IE is going to put a firm at a competitive disadvantage, the logical thing to do is target non-IE users, and, perhaps, run a non MS shop, that is if MS does not believe you are trustworthy.

Look at the demographics. Who are these non-IE users. Well, many of them are mac users with enough expendable income to buy a mac. Many are *nix users who like do it yourself projects. The independent minded window user cannot be ignored either.

It seems to me that many firms go under because they are all chasing the same market, and certainly the unsophisticated IE user is a good mark that is easily hoodwinked, so who can blame those that wish to separate this pitiful creature from his or her money. But why ignore the 10-30% of the customers that will not be effected by the possibly biased MS certification process? To me, if a firm can get some good cred on the boards, I will order from them even if they do not have the rock lowest price. This is much more valuable to me that the firms ability to pay MS to put a pretty color on IE.

Summary makes a flawed assumption, MS another (2, Insightful)

Dracos (107777) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307648)

millions of Internet users who will soon be running IE7

This depends on millions of new Intel machines being purchased after January 30. Febrary and March are the slowest period of the year for any non-essential item, as people are recovering from their holiday spending binges. Retail box sales of Vista will be all but limited to hard core gamers who want DirectX 10 a year before any games actually take advantage of it.

Ok, so IE7 is available on XP if you have SP2 installed. Still not staggering market share if you ask me.

The typical user doesn't notice anything above the top of the page, including the address bar, which is why there's an anti-phishing toolbar in the first place. They'll only notice the color change the first time it happens because a semi-helpful, condescending dialog box will pop up, which the user will check the "do not display again" box, click OK, and continue on their oblivious way without having read the actual message. After that, they'll probably never realize that it changes colors, and if they do, they'll momentarily wonder why, and continue on their merry way.

If something is routinely ignored, it's not useful because it's not being used. This is just one more thing that users will ignore while they submit their credit card info to http://amazon.com.hahawepwnyou.com/ [hahawepwnyou.com] to buy the latest American Idol greatest hits CD.

MS is widely considered to overdo it with the handholding of Windows users, making everything seem cozy and easy, and then they go and implement this toolbar which only gives the illusion of security, in the hopes that the ignorant masses they've created will pay attention to it.

Not gonna happen. Phishing will continue until people learn to use the Internet, jsut like spam will continue until SMTP is replaced.

how much for green does MS get? (1)

wardk (3037) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307666)

so is this going to be a new profit center?

One thing to say to Microsoft (2, Interesting)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307702)

Only one response needed: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin /MS01-017.mspx [microsoft.com]

This was a class-3 code-signing certificate from Verisign, giving all the correct details for Microsoft but the request was coming from a bunch of crackers. How long, then, until the phishers figure out how to get EV-SSL certificates of their own?

What happens when this is cracked? (2, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307754)

And we know that it's only a matter of time...

And the clincher is that the longer it takes to crack, the worse the ramifications are going to be when it happens.

CSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17307940)

In other news, Microsoft announced new extentions to CSS which will, according to a company spokeman, allow site owners to enhance the user experience by customising the appearance of the IE7 web browser. "We want site owners to be able to make the browser match the site. For example, webmasters could cause the scroll bars to be a nice yellow or the address bar could be made green."

The Haiku people did this (2, Interesting)

alex_guy_CA (748887) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307760)

I remember a few years ago, this company licensed a Haiku to put in the email headers. If the Haiku was there, you were automatically white listed in various spam filters. If you used the Haiku without paying the licensed, you could be sued not for spam, but for copyright infringement. I wonder if they still exist. Anyway, small businesses were priced out of the system. If you weren't sending 1,000,000 emails a month, don't bother calling them because you can't afford it. It seemed like such a stupid way to do business in an internet age. I'd pay .05 to make sure an email made it to a client. Oh well.

Small Business (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307780)

Is just in the way. what better way to kill them off then FUD them into bankruptcy.

I feel a great disturbance in the force... (1)

Etherwalk (681268) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307820)

> There are about 20.6 million sole proprietorships and general partnerships in the U.S...

As if millions of small businesses owners suddenly cried out for their lawyers.

There's another problem here (4, Interesting)

wbean (222522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17307846)

We have a Web site where we process orders for other companies. The pages are customized to our customers' look and feel and the credit cards are process against their accounts but all of the transactions take place on our server and use our certificate.

We have no problem getting the new certificates but what company name should appear in the bar? If we put our own name in, we will consfuse the end users who have never heard of us. If we want to use our customers company name, then they each have to get their own certificate and we have to assign separate IP addresses to each of our customers - at the moement we only need one IP.

What a nuisance.

Safari (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17308058)

Hey, where's the anti-phishing notification for Safari? Apple certainly does not care about their user base!
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