Old Habits, Even Unsafe Habits, Die Hard at PayPal and Elsewhere…

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

Amidst the avalanche of security breaches, many financial firms are working hard to “train” their users to avoid unsafe behavior online. Woody Leonhard writes in InfoWorld that PayPal continues to do just the opposite, sending e-mails with embedded hot links to customers, tempting them to click through the same way an e-mail phishing scam would be structured. According to Leonhard:

“I’ve been chiding PayPal for years about their phishing-lookalike emails. They’ve taught an entire generation of online-banking customers that it’s OK to log on to financially sensitive accounts using links sent in email messages.

Actually, PayPal’s email marketing team is starting to look more and more like “spammers in expensive suits” — to borrow Cringely’s phrase — and their scummy techniques are rapidly becoming indistinguishable from phishing.”

Leonhard acknowledges that other financial firms persist in the same behaviors, but blasts PayPal specifically for the example it sets and the influence it exerts on huge volumes of customers.

Heads up, all bankers: resist the temptation to embed hot links to logons. It might seem a kindness and convenience to customers, but enabling this bad personal security habit increases the likelihood they will ultimately be netted by phishers.

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