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Browser toolbar to check site security
Published: 2008-08-11

LAS VEGAS -- Security researcher David Maynor hopes that his credit-card data has been stolen for the last time.

Tired of insecure sites losing his data, the chief technology officer at Errata Security, said the company plans to release a toolbar for major browsers that will check visited Web sites for obvious security issues. The add-on software will check for twenty signs -- such as the version numbers of the Web server and the content management system -- to make sure that the site has no obvious flaws.

"You don't think about checking that stuff every time you go to a Web site," Maynor said. "If you go to a site with this toolbar, you will know whether it's vulnerable" but not necessarily if it's secure.

Other browser plug-ins have attempted to solve the site security issues. Both SiteAdviser, owned by McAfee, and Web security firm Finjan have add-on software that will rate Web sites in terms of security. Microsoft, Mozilla and Opera have all added anti-malware technology to their latest browsers.

The software will not be probing sites, but making its judgement based on the content returned by the site to normal Web browsing queries, he said. If he had been using similar software, it might have alerted Maynor to the security problems of one Web site which allowed online criminals to steal a cache of credit-card data, among them the researcher's own information, he said.

The researcher, known for his controversial presentation of a flaw in wireless drivers, said Errata will release the toolbar, dubbed Barrier, on Monday. The company will aggregate usage statistics from the toolbars to help improve security, Maynor said.

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Posted by: Robert Lemos
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