Feeds

Opera beefs up browser to thwart phishers

Dead cert

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

Opera is trying to close the net on phishers with the release last Friday (February 25) of a second beta of its forthcoming Opera 8 browser. The Beta 2 release is designed to display the name of an organisation that owns the certificate of a site inside an address bar, located next to the padlock icon that indicates the security of a site. By clicking on the bar, surfers can find out who issued a certificate.

Carsten Fischer, VP Desktop Products at Opera Software, explained that the approach helps users decide about the validity of a site. "Before digital certificate information wasn't presented, now at least we're giving users some information to make a decision. Users need to be a bit more educated," he said.

An unintended result of the IDN (International Domain Name) standard means domain names can be registered with certain international characters - which look like other commonly-used characters - in order to hoodwink users into believing they are on a different, trusted site. As such, the feature creates a new wheeze for phishing attacks. Microsoft doesn't support IDN in IE but every other browser manufacturer does, obliging them to act after security firms highlighted the issue last month.

Opera's answer to this challenge is to only display localized domain names from certain top level domains (TLD) in its second beta. "Opera selects TLDs that have established strict policies on the domain names they allow to be registered. This ensures that users who depend on IDN, for example when accessing sites under .jp or .kr, will have a favourable user experience," it said. Outside of trusted domain, Beta 2 will display IDN domains in punycode, which transcribes international characters into ASCII.

Fischer said restricting the use of IDNs is a sensible approach in Western Europe but fails to work well in the rest of the world. He added that Opera is talking to other browser manufacturers, digital certificate firms such as VeriSign and Comodo and registration bodies with the aim of thrashing out a unified approach to the IDN problem.

Beta 2 is available for download here, with modifications from earlier releases noted here. ®

Related stories

Firefox dusted down with security upgrade
Browser holes, hackers and rampaging botnets
Firefox spoofing flaw goes international
Opera to MS: Get real about interoperability, Mr Gates

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft: We plan to CLEAN UP this here Windows Store town
Paid-for apps that provide free downloads? Really
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Hear ye, young cyber warriors of the realm: GCHQ wants you
Get involved, get a job and then never discuss work ever again
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?