Plan to Stop Phishing Could Hurt Small Business
BY Max Chafkin
This month, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is updating Internet Explorer's ability to stop phishing scams, through which fake websites trick people into divulging personal information. Some businesses fear that the new system will hurt them. Currently, websites buy certificates (and a padlock icon) to denote their legitimacy. But scammers have been able to obtain the padlocks too, which is why Microsoft is adopting a new standard that uses the address bar at the top of a browsing window to indicate credibility. The bar would be shaded green for secure websites, red for risky ones. What's not to like? The proposed system requires businesses less than three years old to pay more for certification and shuns most sole proprietorships, partnerships, and LLCs. Champ Mitchell, the CEO of Network Solutions, a Web hosting company, says the plan "strongly disadvantages small business." Microsoft is proceeding despite these concerns because, a spokesperson says, it will provide "significant value to Internet users."