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Date: Tue, 3 Feb 2004 09:58:10 +0800
From: "Fergus Brooks" <>
To: "'McAllister, Andrew'" <>,
Subject: RE: MS to stop allowing passwords in URLs

Andrew - I agree entirely about "Remember my password" and cookies being
no safer. Password saving on shared machines is a nightmare - especially
as machines built with XP by default allow you to have a passwordless
generic login to the machine. 

Seeing some of the passwords that come up on machines in cafes etc makes
me understand why there is so much shared-machine related fraud and
misuse of people's webmail accounts.

Also I have found that often to get to an FTP server on the Internet
(depending on the proxy, connection, firewall etc) that you need to use
this format. Taking this functionality away will certainly make it
harder for a lot of support people and consultants to do their jobs.

Back to having *every imaginable tool* in the CD case when visiting
client sites. Or maybe we should just starting putting all our good
stuff up on anonymous FTP sites?


-----Original Message-----
From: McAllister, Andrew [] 
Sent: Thursday, 29 January 2004 6:54 AM
Subject: MS to stop allowing passwords in URLs

I just read that Microsoft will stop allowing IDs and passwords to be
embedded in URLs used by Internet Explorer. So you will no longer be
able to use a URL like


Their reasoning is that this will mitigate status bar spoofing as has
recently been discussed here and in other forums. The article even goes
so far as to admit that recent versions of IE show only the URL before
the @ sign while older versions do not.

Apparently MS has decided that this RFC URL syntax is simply too
dangerous to allow in their products. 

Their suggested workarounds include among others:
  1) Having users click the "Remember my password" checkbox in IE.
  2) Using cookies.

I personally use this syntax in only one production application, BBTray
- a windows tray applet that watches my bigbrother monitoring server.
Click the applet and it opens a browser window with the syntax. The ID and password is specific to our
bigbrother application, my workstation sits behind two firewalls and I
am the only admin on the box. So, I consider this use to be legit and
relatively safe given the convenience it provides.

I certainly don't consider the "remember my password" functionality nor
stored cookies any more or less safe than this syntax.

Anyone have any comments regarding legitimate uses of this syntax and
Microsoft removing it from their browser? (and presumably the OS since
the browser IS the OS).

Andrew McAllister
University of Missouri
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