PayPal: If a browser doesn't have anti-phishing technology (like Safari) ditch it

Summary:A PayPal executive last week recommended that its users ditch Apple's Safari browser since it doesn't have anti-phishing technology. If other phishing targets--banks, brokers and such--follow suit it could make anti-phishing technology the price of admission to recommend browsers.

A PayPal executive last week recommended that its users ditch Apple's Safari browser since it doesn't have anti-phishing technology. If other phishing targets--banks, brokers and such--follow suit it could make anti-phishing technology the price of admission to recommend browsers.

Infoworld last week quoted Michael Barrett, PayPal's CIO, saying the following:

"Apple, unfortunately, is lagging behind what they need to do, to protect their customers. Our recommendation at this point, to our customers, is use Internet Explorer 7 or 8 when it comes out, or Firefox 2 or Firefox 3, or indeed Opera."

At issue is the fact that Safari lacks a built-in phishing filter to warn users about shady Web sites. Safari also dosen't support so-called Extended Validation certificates, which turn the address bar green if a site is legit. Extended Validation certificates aren't the complete answer but are a help.

Jeff Smykil at ArsTechnica noted:

While it's not entirely fair singling out Safari (other Mac browsers like Camino also also lack this support), it is perhaps at least a helpful reminder of the threat. Embarrassingly enough, (what don't I keep from you folks?) I have fallen for a PayPal-related phishing scam. It was early in the morning and I realized my error as soon as I hit enter; nonetheless, there was the possibility that the phishers got my login information. At least I was lucky enough to realize I screwed up and was able to change my login information on that, and other sites, right away.

I use Camino as my full-time browser, so Safari didn't fail me, but it would have. As annoying as I sometimes find the antiphishing features at work where I use a PC, the small annoyance would have saved me an even larger one in the end.

To be completely honest, I've never viewed anti-phishing technology as anything more than an annoyance, but if a tech savvy person like Smykil can get nabbed we all can.

Will anti-phishing features get more respect after PayPal's campaign?

Via Slashdot.

Topics: Security, Apple, Browser, Operating Systems

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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