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Microsoft IE Will Authenticate “Safe” Sites

On the arrival of 2007, Microsoft Corp's Internet Explorer version 7 will start labeling selected e-commerce and banking sites as 'green' meaning "safe". The browser will recognize vendors with an Extended Validation (EV) certificate.

As soon as Microsoft runs the feature in the version 7 of Internet Explorer, the browser will flash a green bar when it spots an EV certificate at the time of a transaction or login. The tool adds to a filter launched recently that shows a red alert for confirmed phishing sites and yellow for doubtful ones.

The 65-page draft provides guidelines and verification requirements of the site, comprising of legal existence, physical existence, telephone number, domain name and owner's authorization.

There will be exemptions from some verification on presenting a letter from a lawyer, notary, or accountant. The guidelines outline procedures for the verification of authenticity. Businesses running for less than three years will need to place evidence of having a valid bank account. Additional checks may be applied for banks and other financial companies considered having high risk of being scammers' targets.

The procedure depends upon government filings, which currently bar general partnerships, unincorporated associations, sole proprietorships, and individuals from obtaining these certificates.

The EV certificate is an indication to consumers that the business exists and operates at the location it claims, said Tim Callan, director of product marketing for VeriSign Inc. The company's first certification was for 'Overstock' this month.

The scenario may change after the release of Microsoft's new IE browser. Some small enterprises, which already safeguard their customers from phishing attacks and other scams fear that Microsoft may desist to display a "safe" sign for their sites. The debate therefore continues over the qualifications that merchants need to obtain visible signs that will instill confidence in customers when they go shopping on their sites.

Microsoft announced that green bars would start appearing in late January 2007. Unfortunately, most phishing sites have been imitating the websites of larger banks and companies. Smaller merchants could get EV certificates through a third-party payment processor.

Microsoft says they have embarked on a good technology that will benefit consumers.

Related article: Microsoft Patches Live OneCare to Tackle Quarantined E-Mails

» SPAMfighter News - 29-12-2006

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