PayPal to Ban 'Unsafe Browsers'

Dennis Faas's picture

Online payment processing giant PayPal has recently announced security measures that it will implement to protect customers from falling victim to phishing attacks. PayPal is particularly affected by these attacks, because the core of its business encompasses the transfer of funds, which presents a tempting target to criminals.

Michael Barrett, PayPal's chief security officer, explained the company's plans to delegates meeting at the RSA security conference in San Francisco. (Source:

Barrett emphasized the need for cooperative action between individuals as well as companies depending on secure Internet access. He stated, "We know we're always going to be an attractive target for criminals. But what I don't want is PayPal to be protected and the rest of the industry not. Phishing could be solved, there's no need for it to happen." (Source:

For its part PayPal has introduced a whole host of security measures such as imbedding digital signatures on all outbound emails that is used by its partner Yahoo! to verify the authenticity of an email when it arrives in an individual's inbox.

Most recently, the company announced that it will begin to warn individuals who attempt to access its website using older, 'unsafe' web browsers. According to PayPal's records, a significant number of Internet users, "still use Microsoft's Internet Explorer 3, released in 1996, and IE 4, which debuted in 1997. Those browsers lack a phishing filter, which can block users from accessing a reported phishing Web site." (Source:

Following its campaign to educate consumers, PayPal will eventually ban all web browsers it deems unsafe. Most updated versions of popular web browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera contain security measures such as blacklists, anti-fraud warning pages, and security certificates. However, Safari the web browser used by most Mac users lacks many of these basic security features. (Source:

PayPal has yet to announce a detailed timeline but will require agreements with major Internet Service Providers (ISP).

UPDATE: For its part, PayPal has denied that it will be blocking any web browsers. In a statement, company representatives announced, "We have absolutely no intention of blocking current versions of any browsers, including Apple's Safari, from our Web site." Given such conflicting reports, it may take some time before we know just which account is correct. (Source:

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