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Web Browser Developers Work Together on Security

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KDE

Core KDE developer George Staikos recently hosted a meeting of the security developers from the leading web browsers. The aim was to come up with future plans to combat the security risks posed by phishing, ageing encryption ciphers and inconsistent SSL Certificate practise. Read on for George's report of the plans that will become part of KDE 4's Konqueror and future versions of other web browsers.

In the past few years the Internet has seen a rapid growth in phishing attacks. There have been many attempts to mitigate these types of attack, but they rarely get at the root of them problem: fundamental flaws in Internet architecture and browser technology. Throughout this year I had the fortunate opportunity to participate in discussions with members of the Internet Explorer, Mozilla/FireFox, and Opera development teams with the goal of understanding and addressing some of these issues in a co-operative manner.

Our initial and primary focus is, and continues to be, addressing issues in PKI as implemented in our web browsers. This involves finding a way to make the information presented to the user more meaningful, easier to recognise, easier to understand, and perhaps most importantly, finding a way to make a distinction for high-impact sites (banks, payment services, auction sites, etc) while retaining the accessibility of SSL and identity for smaller organisations.

In Toronto on Thursday November 17, on behalf of KDE and sponsored by my company Staikos Computing Services, I hosted a meeting of some of these developers. We shared the work we had done in recent months and discussed our approaches and strengths and weaknesses. It was a great experience, and the response seems to be that we all left feeling confident in our direction moving forward.

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