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When Your Trusted Search Isn't Particularly Trustworthy

from the whoops dept

Yesterday, GeoTrust got a lot of publicity for launching a special "trustworthy" search engine built on top of AskJeeves. The idea was that when you did a search, it would alert you to potential phishing and scam sites. This seemed pretty pointless, honestly. Phishing scams work through social engineering -- tricking users into clicking through and believing they're logging in to a specific site. They usually don't work by someone searching for a certain website and then filling in their info. Furthermore, it seems pretty likely that anyone who actually would know enough to use a special anti-phishing search engine also is probably aware of phishing scams and how to avoid them without having to use a special search engine. Of course, to make matters even worse, it didn't take long at all for some enterprising journalists to spot a scam site marked as "safe" by the new search engine. When your entire system is based on your ability to tell safe sites from bad sites -- and even that doesn't work, it suggests that perhaps the whole idea wasn't such a good one.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    CAG, Sep 27th, 2005 @ 3:07pm

    Video Games

    Yea! Get me a cup of coffee.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Coolz0r, Sep 27th, 2005 @ 3:41pm

    Safe Search

    Very amusing :) I love the way your dry humor sometimes enlightens the point like TOTALLY. You rock ! (and so forth)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Conrad, Sep 27th, 2005 @ 6:54pm

    You know whats WORSE?

    When you can go to the site, view "unknown" results, and change them!

    For example, I looked up several of the domains I own, and all of them were given the yellow "unknown" mark. Fine.

    I then clicked on the site report link, which showed me details about that domain, and gave me the chance to submit a nomination for this domain. I submited a blank positive nomination, and tada, now I am green "verified" domain.

    Granted, the domains do have SSL and non-SSL parts, and the secure cert is done through a 3rd party (godaddy). However, being able to change the ranking so easily should tell you about the value of the service.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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