Friday, November 05, 2010

And These are the Guys that Want Us to Allow Them to Control Our PC's

Internet Explorer 8 developed a filtering problem on November 4th and for most of that day and into the evening many sites were blocked as "bad" sites that were anything but.

A prime example was Vista's credit card site. This had anyone using IE8 blocked from using or visiting that site. So if you wanted to pay a credit card bill, transfer some money from your card, or just see your balance you were SOL.

And while this was a real problem for many it isn't the fact that IE8 messed up and blocked some sites that to me is the important issue in this problem.

The real issue is that it shows the current state of software to monitor things on the internet and to be counted on to correctly interpret good sites and programs from bad sites and programs.

This is the same MS that had some of it's major people blogging that what we need to protect the internet is for companies and internet providers to be able to block from the internet individual computers that have become infected with viruses and Malware.

And as MS and others on the security and hosting side of the internet were loudly stating their case I was just as loudly saying no way in posts both here on Amplify and on my blog

And now only a few weeks from those posts comes just the demonstration of what I feared. If the same flawed programing error had been blocking your computer from the internet that was blocking you from going to some site on the internet the problem would have been much worse for you.

For while this error kept people from some sites it didn't keep them from the internet completely. And while this issue because it affected millions of IE8 users was addressed quickly I can't imagine that if my personal or work computer was being blocked totally from the internet due to a "mistake" that it would receive as prompt a fix.

Even worse how would you even report such a problem without being able to even get on the internet to report it in the first place?

And who would you report it too? Who would be responsible for finally getting you back on the internet?

The government (think big brother and censorship).

Some big security company (remember MacAfee's error that deleted a key windows systems file).

Well I'm sure you get the picture. Lets keep fowl ups like this in our mind the next time our friends in business and government start wanting to control or block our computers.
Maybe what we need is a national right to own a computer like our constitutional right to bear arms. Anyway no matter what we need we sure don't need someone somewhere deciding to block our computer(s) from the internet for reasons that only they decide!

Amplify’d from

Internet Explorer 8 malware filtering problem hits users across the Web

A problem with the Microsoft SmartScreen malware-thwarting technology in Internet Explorer 8 rendered countless users unable to access all kinds of sites throughout the day on November 4.

Microsoft officials seem to have licked the problem by the end of the work day on the East Coast, but had posted no explanation as to its cause.

There are numerous tweets from frustrated IE users attempting to access banks, financial sites and other Web properties, noting that those sites were being reported as malicious by IE 8 even though they were not.

SmartScreen Filter is a feature introduced in Internet Explorer 8 designed to help users avoid “socially engineered malware phishing websites and online fraud.” The filter checks sites against a “dynamically updated list” of reporting phishing/malware sites, and checks software downloads against reported sites. If a user tries to visit a site that is marked as malicious, a screen pops up advising that user not to continue to the unsafe site.

The @MicrosoftHelps twitter account is reporting that the issue has been resolved and apologized for any inconviences caused by the issue. I’ve asked the Internet Explorer team whether there is additional information on what went wrong today, but there’s no word back so far.

Update: Microsoft is providing the following statement but no further details as to which sites were affected or what caused the problem. From a spokesperson:

“The SmartScreen Filter was unintentionally blocking a group of websites sites earlier today.  The issue has been resolved and we apologize to the customers and sites that were affected.  We understand the root cause and have taken preventive action.  We take security seriously and are committed to delivering a trusted browsing experience.”

Via Twitter, I am seeing reports that Visa and Moneytree Inc.sites were affected, among others.

Internet Explorer 9 also incorporates the smart screen filter technology. I am running the beta of IE 9, but didn’t encounter any issues today with sites falsely reporting to be malicious.


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