W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-wsc-wg@w3.org > January 2008

RE: Is the padlock a page security score?

From: William Eburn <weburn@hisoftware.com>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2008 14:33:25 -0500
Message-ID: <971382EDCC4412499881ACB0740B84219CFBBC@BE20.exg3.exghost.com>
To: "Anil Saldhana" <Anil.Saldhana@redhat.com>, <public-wsc-wg@w3.org>

Hello all,

As you may know, HiSoftware has content and application testing tools
around privacy, security, accessibility, general content quality,
corporate branding, and several factors of site quality.

I am concerned that if we give some de facto score but do not consider
the content or application, then would I not as a user of the browser
that gave me the information have the right to sue their corporation if
I went to a site, the score said 90% reliable and I entered all my PII
and the next user saw that it was 90% secure -- knew that the scoring
system was flawed because it didn't consider the content, or the
application and in this case used a simple SQL Injection to grab all the
PII out of the system (including mine), then opened multiple bank
accounts, got car loans, and did whatever, causing me great harm.  While
it's true I was able to cancel the charges as being fraudulent, it took
over a year to do so.  Would the company that provided the page score be
responsible in a court of law?

Please note, this would be different depending on which country you were
in.

I think, from our perspective the education of the user to the state of
the different security indicators is important but for us to assign any
value judgment on them would at best, be foolish.  Immediately we could
never assign 100%, because as part of the working group we've already
said that we aren't examining the content or application being viewed by
the user agent.  So it would be my vote to eliminate the idea of a page
score entirely.  What I'm suggesting is that we show them the
information, educate the user as to what it means, but assign no value.

This is just my two cents on the page score topic.

Thanks,
Bill


-----Original Message-----
From: public-wsc-wg-request@w3.org [mailto:public-wsc-wg-request@w3.org]
On Behalf Of Anil Saldhana
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2008 2:18 PM
To: public-wsc-wg@w3.org
Subject: Re: Is the padlock a page security score?


Right on the point, Tim.

We have a tendency to quote personal experiences/behavior to equate it 
to the general behavior of the masses. A security indicator to one does 
not mean an indicator to everyone.

WG has had discussions that the padlock is not sufficient to ensure a 
secure behavior.  Hence page security score, ev cert bar etc etc. :)

Timothy Hahn wrote:
> Hi all,
> 
> This whole discussion is subjective.  What is useful for one person
could 
> very well be useless to someone else.
> 
> An analogy - weather forecasts about the possibility of rain today.
Does 
> such a score indicate whether I will get rained on?  No.  Does it help
me 
> decide whether or not to wear a hat or carry an umbrella?  Yes.  There
is 
> no way that people other than meteorologists (and some would argue,
even 
> them) will accurately interpret isobars, cloud patterns, and doppler
radar 
> to determine whether it will rain.  But people can get a feeling for
the 
> chances of rain based on a 0-100% estimate.
> 
> I think the same is true for the notion of a page security score.
Does it 
> imply that the user will definitely, without a doubt, not get "taken"?
No. 
>  Does it give the user something with which to make a choice?  Yes.
In 
> this light, I still feel that page security scores are good things to 
> consider.
> 
> Regards,
> Tim Hahn
> IBM Distinguished Engineer
> 
> Internet: hahnt@us.ibm.com
> Internal: Timothy Hahn/Durham/IBM@IBMUS
> phone: 919.224.1565     tie-line: 8/687.1565
> fax: 919.224.2530
> 
> 
> 
> 
> From:
> <michael.mccormick@wellsfargo.com>
> To:
> <ifette@google.com>, <Anil.Saldhana@redhat.com>
> Cc:
> Timothy Hahn/Durham/IBM@IBMUS, <public-wsc-wg@w3.org>, 
> <Mary_Ellen_Zurko@notesdev.ibm.com>
> Date:
> 01/10/2008 01:34 PM
> Subject:
> RE: Is the padlock a page security score?
> 
> 
> 
> I would ask the same question about a binary indicator.  The padlock
does 
> not mean it's safe to enter a credit card.
> 
> From: Ian Fette [mailto:ifette@google.com] 
> Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2008 12:26 PM
> To: Anil Saldhana
> Cc: McCormick, Mike; hahnt@us.ibm.com; public-wsc-wg@w3.org; 
> Mary_Ellen_Zurko@notesdev.ibm.com
> Subject: Re: Is the padlock a page security score?
> 
> I still don't understand what anything beyond a binary result is
supposed 
> to tell a user. I'm on a site with "Medium" security - what does that 
> mean? Does that mean that I should give them my credit card or not? 
> 
> On Jan 10, 2008 10:00 AM, Anil Saldhana <Anil.Saldhana@redhat.com>
wrote:
> 
> Maybe there is an opportunity to associate "High/Medium/Low" or
> "Strong/Medium/Low" based on page security score with the padlock.
> 
> michael.mccormick@wellsfargo.com wrote:
>> Sure, I agree the padlock is a binary representation of a boolean 
> security
>> score formula based on a single security variable (SSL on main page).
A
>> degenerate case IMHO - but still technically a page security score. 
>>
>> A security score algorithm should take into account most (if not all)
of 
> the
>> variables we enumerated under "What is a Secure Page?"  Perhaps the
note
>> should state that explicitly.  Then padlocks wouldn't qualify. 
>>
>>   _____
>>
>> From: public-wsc-wg-request@w3.org
[mailto:public-wsc-wg-request@w3.org] 
> On
>> Behalf Of Timothy Hahn 
>> Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2008 10:40 AM
>> To: public-wsc-wg@w3.org
>> Subject: Re: Is the padlock a page security score?
>>
>>
>>
>> Mez, 
>>
>> I'll toss in my view that the padlock is an example of a page
security
>> score.  In most user agents, this seems to be pretty much "binary"
(on 
> or
>> off) though I think we've heard from some folks that there are some 
>> "embellishments" on their display of the icon which would provide
more
>> gradations based on information received.
>>
>> On the bright side of such a visible item - it is relatively easy to 
>> describe and for people to grasp the meaning of.
>>
>> On the down side of the padlock -  ... well, we've had lots of that
>> discussion on this list already - see the archives.
>>
>> Regards, 
>> Tim Hahn
>> IBM Distinguished Engineer
>>
>> Internet: hahnt@us.ibm.com
>> Internal: Timothy Hahn/Durham/IBM@IBMUS
>> phone: 919.224.1565     tie-line: 8/687.1565 
>> fax: 919.224.2530
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> From:         "Mary Ellen Zurko" <Mary_Ellen_Zurko@notesdev.ibm.com>
>>
>> To:   public-wsc-wg@w3.org
>>
>> Date:         01/10/2008 11:10 AM
>>
>> Subject:      Is the padlock a page security score?
>>
>>   _____
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> If not, why not?
>>
>>          Mez
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
> 
> --
> Anil Saldhana
> Project/Technical Lead,
> JBoss Security & Identity Management 
> JBoss, A division of Red Hat Inc.
> http://labs.jboss.com/portal/jbosssecurity/
> 
> 
> 
> 

-- 
Anil Saldhana
Project/Technical Lead,
JBoss Security & Identity Management
JBoss, A division of Red Hat Inc.
http://labs.jboss.com/portal/jbosssecurity/




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Received on Thursday, 10 January 2008 19:39:30 UTC

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