Dear RIPE: Please don't encourage phishing

William Herrin bill at
Fri Feb 10 17:35:56 UTC 2012

On Fri, Feb 10, 2012 at 12:18 PM, Richard Barnes
<richard.barnes at> wrote:
> On Fri, Feb 10, 2012 at 8:56 AM, Steven Bellovin <smb at> wrote:
>> I received the enclosed note, apparently from RIPE (and the headers check out).
>> Why are you sending messages with clickable objects that I'm supposed to use to
>> change my password?
>> [...]
>> attribute field.  Click this button for a pop up window that will encrypt
>> a password and enter it directly into the "auth:" field.

> So because of phishing, nobody should send messages with URLs in them?

url != clickable object

No problem with URLs in email.

No problem with clickable objects that are unrelated to security.

Minor problem with URLs that lead to changing passwords but can be
mitigated by making the URL very plain and easy to read, even by a
non-techie. They'll at least have to see the thing, even if the mail
client automagically makes it clickable.

Big problem with clickable objects which lead to PII (personally
identifiable information) or passwords. That's how phishing works -- a
disguised url that you either see at all or whose incorrect nature
slips right past your brain. The only known working solution is to
train folks to *never* click security-related URLs in email. Copy and
paste only, and only if they're readable and read right.

Bill Herrin

William D. Herrin ................ herrin at  bill at
3005 Crane Dr. ...................... Web: <>
Falls Church, VA 22042-3004

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