Dear RIPE: Please don't encourage phishing

William Herrin bill at
Fri Feb 10 18:52:45 UTC 2012

On Fri, Feb 10, 2012 at 1:00 PM, Jay Ashworth <jra at> wrote:
>> From: "William Herrin" <bill at>
>> 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.
> And right there, Bill, is the part we so rarely understand, and it kills us:
> Even lots of *technical* people just don't understand what "a security-
> related URL" *is*, and there's almost always no way to teach them.
> So it's necessary to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and tell them
> never to click on a link...

Hi Jay,

And if we could just train people to never send or accept email
attachments, we could get rid of email-spread viruses. Not gonna
happen -- the functionality is too useful.

Security isn't just about what you can train someone to do... it's
also about what you can convince them to do when you're not standing
behind them watching -- the instructions that they're willing to
internalize. You can't convince people never to click links in an
email. It's too useful.

You might, however, be able to convince the average person that if a
link they clicked from an email asks for a password or asks for any
personal information then the message was probably from an
impersonator trying to steal the user's identity and they should
report it immediately lest they be victimized.


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

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