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Opera suggests Consortium on IDN Fix
Contributed by: G3nu1n3, at 2/19/2005 12:57:00 PM.

Opera Software has called on its fellow browser makers and the Internet community as a whole to band together in an effort to fix the security issues related to Internationalized Domain Names.

The IDN standard was called into question earlier this month following news that it could lead to domain spoofing and phishing attacks.

The problem with IDN stems from its use of the Unicode character set to enable domain names that include international letters. But because the DNS system that facilitates the Internet only understands ASCII, or U.S. English characters, Unicode URLs must be converted by a Web browser into a format called "Punycode."

In this conversion lies the potential for a malicious Web site to mimic a trusted URL, including its SSL security certificate. With Unicode, it is possible to have numerous characters called "homographs" that appear identical when displayed, but are actually completely different.

Earlier this week, Mozilla developers announced the next release of Firefox would disable IDN as a temporary corrective measure until a long-term solution is found. Opera says it will provide its own fix in an upcoming preview release of Opera 8, while noting any "solution must find a balance in how information is presented to the user."

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