Egg at the tip of Passport iceberg

Concerns over security at the internet bank will be echoed elsewhere

Concerns over security at the internet bank will be echoed elsewhere

The vehemence with which Egg customers have reacted to the online bank's decision to embrace Microsoft's Passport single sign-on authentication software is a testament to customer anxiety over online security. It also highlights the awful reputation Microsoft has managed to gain not only with informed commentators, but with the general public as well. Egg's COO has scrambled (forgive the pun) to reassure customers that the bank will never compromise its customers' details with insecure software, yet users are still threatening to close their accounts if Passport is used. Even though Egg is seemingly riding roughshod over its customers' financial security, it should be recognised that it is only catching the flack because it's the furthest ahead. Passport is central to Microsoft's .NET strategy which will take it to the next stage of web-based applications. And one company or another has to lead the trek to the web services oasis, right? Sooner or later we may wake up to find that if we use Microsoft applications - as we nearly all do - then we are forced to use Passport too. In other words, Egg might not be the only dot-com or, more generally, business signing its customers on to Passport. That's a scary thought, unless Microsoft does something to improve its reputation for privacy and security. Let's hope it does.