PayPal to Block Older Browsers

Move aims to help deter fraud.

by staff writer
- Apr 24, 2008

Electronic payment service PayPal plans to ban the use of older browsers in an effort to curb online fraud.

No timeline was given for implementation, but a top PayPal executive says the company is developing a way to block users from logging into the site from obsolete browsers, saying older versions—such as Microsoft's Internet Explorer 3 and 4—lack technology to detect and warn users of possible phishing sites.

Reports of the plan surfaced at the recent RSA Conference in San Francisco, after a technical paper submitted by Michael Barrett, PayPal's chief information security officer, called out the security risk.

"It's critical to not only warn users about unsafe browsers, but also to disallow older and insecure browsers," Barrett said in the paper. "In our view, letting users view the PayPal site on one of these browsers is equal to a car manufacturer allowing drivers to buy one of their vehicles without seatbelts."

Phishing is an online scam that uses e-mail links to lead users to legitimate-looking sites where the unsuspecting users are encouraged to provide confidential information that can be used to steal the victim's identity. PayPal users are a common target because the service is used to conduct financial transactions.

PayPal's blocking technique would reportedly alert people logging in that they must upgrade to a newer browser in order to access the site.

The effort comes amid a flurry of policy changes within eBay, PayPal's parent company, largely aimed at reducing fraudulent activity on its site.

About the Author

Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.

Other Entries by this Author

Follow Us