Feeds

Opera beefs up browser to thwart phishers

Dead cert

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
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?