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Phishing for Security


Phishing for Security

So my Dad calls me up last week to tell me that he’s just got a call from his building society to say that his account has been completely emptied out. Great. At least Nationwide had the good sense to immediately realise that it was a fraudulent transaction and told him that he’d be reimbursed in full the same day. Phew.

Not surprisingly it seems that his account details had been stolen when he was doing his online banking on his laptop, presumably by some form of key logging Trojan. Ironically only a few weeks ago I had to clean up his notebook, which had been infiltrated by Spyware. I thought I’d got the little buggers, but clearly I hadn’t done a good enough job.

Even with Lavasoft’s Ad-aware, Microsoft’s Anti Spyware Beta and CheckPoint’s Zone Alarm all installed, the Trojan still managed to get in, and more significantly get out again, taking my Dad’s bank details with it.

The problem is that my Dad just isn’t computer savvy enough to deal with the threats that anyone can face online. If things like those pop-ups that look like Windows dialogue boxes flash up saying, “You have been infected with Spyware! You must click here now or your computer will burst into flames!” he’ll just think, “Well, I don’t want that,” and obediently clicks on it. You see, he can’t distinguish between things that are generated by a program that’s designed to protect him and one that’s out to do damage. It not his fault. Now that I’ve hit the wrong side of thirty even I’ve become aware of differences between myself and those used to using technology since school. He’s got no chance.

Which, of course, brings me on to Internet Explorer 7. Now the office disdain for Microsoft’s browser is pretty heartfelt, with no more vocal proponent than our erstwhile News Editor Gordon. We only use the thing because TrustedReviews.com’s mysterious back-end system will only let us upload pictures using IE - no other browser will work. Nobody, not even the people who created it can tell us why, which is the sort of unexplained bizarre thing that helps keep astrologers, religious authorities and technical consultants in paid jobs. While this limitation will be thankfully remedied when our new site comes online (‘Real Soon Now,’) for the moment we’re stuck with it. Which is why I was looking at IE7.

The first time I saw it wasn’t actually on my PC, which is why I didn’t recognise it at first. Not realising what it was, I first though it was some dodgy skin for IE6 that had been knocked up in order to drag IE into the 21st century by clumsily adding tabbed browsing, some rounded buttons and getting rid of the menus. I was fairly surprised to find out then that this was the actual IE7 Beta 2 preview. I was distinctly under-whelmed by the low rent look, but two things caught my eye to make me not dismiss it out of hand. Firstly there was the Quick Tab view that presents thumbnails of all of your open tabs, therefore enabling you to see more easily what they are so you can choose between them. It’s similar to the 3D ‘Alt-tab’ view that’s part of Vista that Bill Gates previewed at CES. I like it.

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