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Browser Wars : Wells Fargo Blocks Opera

   
9:34 pm on Feb 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



As of 8am today - Wells Fargo (one of the largest Banks in the United States) began blocking Opera browser from it's online banking.

For Online Access with Wells Fargo You Must Use a Supported Browser

Wells Fargo no longer supports the browser version you are using. Please upgrade to a supported browser in order to get access to Wells Fargo's secure sites.

Please upgrade your browser now.

This is not the first bank we have heard doing this recently.

Has someone been on an anti browser party latly?
Will Opera Software take legal action again?

Related
Opera wins $12 million in Denial of Service Suit:
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PC World Names Opera Best Browser of 2004
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9:47 pm on Feb 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Wells Fargo used to be a great bank but now they are awful. They have no human beings at the wheels. I'm going to "upgrade" banks shortly. And their Opera message is just one more reason.
9:49 pm on Feb 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



As of 8am today - Wells Fargo (one of the largest Banks in the United States) began blocking Opera browser from it's online banking.

This is the reason why my Wells Fargo business checking account was closed last week and re-opened with Wells Fargo's competition.

Dumb move Wells Fargo.

9:51 pm on Feb 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Bank of America had something a few months ago concerning browser issues. Here is their current list of supported browsers...

Supported Browsers

For PC using Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000, ME, XP

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 or higher
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer with AOL 5.5 or higher
  • Netscape 6.2 and higher (Online Banking is not accessible with Netscape 6.0)

For Macintosh using OS 9 and OS 10

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer w/ AOL 5.0 and higher
  • Netscape 6.2 and higher (Online Banking is not accessible with Netscape 6.0)
  • Safari 1.0 or higher (for OS 10 only)
10:16 pm on Feb 2, 2005 (gmt 0)



You think they are really mad that some webmasters who want to use Opera may leave them? I bet <0.1% of people online use Opera, they could care less if they alienate a few people if the margin for supporting such a thing isn't worth it or they feel security is an issue. At least with MS if there is a security breach you know there will be an update shortly as they have tons of people working this area.
10:16 pm on Feb 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lorax is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Well I'll be. I was thinking of trying Wells Fargo but since I use Op ... I guess not. Why on earth would they ban Op? It's one thing to avoid designing for it (like I do for NN4.5) but to outright ban it?
10:27 pm on Feb 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



No hdpt00 - we are talking exposure to liability here.

MS rumored to Pay Opera $12million for blocking its browser:
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10:28 pm on Feb 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Quitting or changing banks just because they won't support Opera? Pretty funny stuff. Just pop open a supported browser. It might take a whole second or two.
10:29 pm on Feb 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



You think they are really mad that some webmasters who want to use Opera may leave them? I bet <0.1% of people online use Opera, they could care less if they alienate a few people if the margin for supporting such a thing isn't worth it or they feel security is an issue.

A good point.

Not much a stress just to open up another browser is it? I would hate to think that just having your browser not supported would keep people from banking with a company. ha!

I switched banking to Wells Fargo a 2 years ago for business. I was pleased with the support in moving my merchant services over to them, as well as other business solutions. It was a dream - But then I was banking with US Bank before the switch to WF.

On a final note.. does anyone have any solid information yet on why they did this?

10:38 pm on Feb 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



>It might take a whole second or two.

Not on a phone that doesn't support another browser.

Not in an office that has all but banned the usage of IE and other insecure browsers it doesn't.

Not when you have 14 financial institutions that open in one click it and you access those institutions 30-40 times a day it doesn't.

10:41 pm on Feb 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



>>At least with MS if there is a security breach you know there will be an update shortly

LOL!

>>Quitting or changing banks just because they won't support Opera?

I would too, if I used WF. I don't even have IE or Netscape(unless FF counts) on my pc(Linux).

>>does anyone have any solid information yet on why they did this?

No, but I'll wager a guess that they can't make their JavaScript work in Opera. I don't see it being a "security" issue.

10:45 pm on Feb 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



We aren't big, but my boss switched banks last week after the warning came out. That was about $16 million a year in cash flow.
11:17 pm on Feb 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I wonder if this is related to the WhenU lawsuit/popups...maybe WF found a way to block WhenU's ads if the user uses IE but not if they use something else. It might also have to do with Opera displaying Adsense in the browser (as I've heard).
11:21 pm on Feb 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Wow, money rules the world. Who would have thought? All joking aside, this policy is probably motivated by Wells Fargo wanting to protect themselves from obscure browsers that could result in security problems. Regression testing must be a ridiculous chore already because they're an online bank. Adding a new browser, even if it's just Opera, could create a lot of additional work and risks. Plus Opera displays contextual ads - technically it should be possible to securely run adsense and use an online bank but why open yourself up to silly risks?
11:47 pm on Feb 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I don't think the browser thing is that big a deal. What bothers me more and more with them is how few people man the phone, man the customer support when you email them too. I've gone through endless email and voicemail loops with them that made them look like a one-man operation. Continued complaints got me nowhere. But they were the first on the block to really cater to the Internet customer when most banks were afraid to.
11:59 pm on Feb 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ogletree is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



What probably happend is that some tech guy decided he did not want to deal with it and made the decision himself without asking anybody.

Woz

12:05 am on Feb 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member woz is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Good point ogletree. Has any contacted the powers that be at the bank to enquire as to the reasons for this action?

Onya
Woz

12:11 am on Feb 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I stopped ssing Wells Fargo years ago! Very sad organization over there, if you think they care a a bit about their customers, think again!

A joke for sure, who cares, Opera is just fine IMO!

Hollywood

12:22 am on Feb 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



> Quitting or changing banks just because they won't support Opera? Pretty funny stuff

I agree especially coming from folks in this forum where I'm sure none of us operate exclusively with a single web browser. I have difficulty taking the comments like those in the 2nd & 3rd posts seriously.

The topic however is very interesting. I know that I don't go out of my way to support Opera but I'm not denying those users either.

12:23 am on Feb 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



>>At least with MS if there is a security breach you know there will be an update shortly
ROFLMAO

There is absolutely no reason for a bank to block a browser. Forcing people to use IE defeats the idea of having a secure site.

12:33 am on Feb 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



If the reason was security related blocking IE would prove more effective, though certainly would alienate a larger chunk of users.

I would think that opera's context targeted ads would be a more likly cause.

12:33 am on Feb 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Assuming Microsoft paid off Opera, they no doubt did it because of antitrust reasons. Such an action by MSN could be viewed as a means of boosting their own near-monopoly browser. Absent some critical technical reason, MS would almost certainly have been in violation of antitrust laws.

A bank, on the other hand, has no obligation to permit equal access to all browsers. They could force you to use WF-Explorer if they wanted to... but would risk losing customers.

12:45 am on Feb 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



There's definitely some programming junk in the Wells Fargo online banking section. It identifies my Opera 5.12 set to identify itself as MSIE 5.0 as Netscape 4.76. Hmmph. At least it recognizes Firefox 1.0 as Mozilla 1.7.5, and declares it to be useable.

Their statement about why they do this browser-limiting:

For your protection, Wells Fargo does not support beta versions of browsers. Under normal circumstances, Wells Fargo will support the final version of a browser shortly after the release date. Wells Fargo regularly monitors and tests browsers to ensure the highest security standards for our customers.

For security reasons, certain versions of browsers occasionally "expire" their ability to perform sensitive transactions such as Internet banking or bill pay. In order to maintain its high degree of customer security, Wells Fargo does not allow access to accounts online using these browsers. To continue to access Wells Fargo accounts online, some customers will need to upgrade to a newer, supported version of their preferred browser.

To provide our customers the most effective and secure online access to their accounts, we are continually upgrading our online services. As we add new features and enhancements to our service, there are certain browser versions, operating systems, and/or Internet devices including WebTV, which cannot support these changes. We recommend that you use a browser and operating system that is listed on the above Supported browser chart.

When acknowledging a supported browser, they state:

Your browser meets Wells Fargo's strict security standards, which employ some of the strongest encryption available over the Internet.

(It's nice that their standards employ strong encryption. I had thought that was something a browser did.)

So their issue seems to be primarily with encryption, and not how well the browser handles style sheets.

PS: I, too, am LMAO about the MSIE security breach comment, earlier. Given a 3 month minimum patch development time when they DO discover an exploit, you better get all your banking done at one time, because it may be awhile before it's safe to go back in the water! :)

Come to think of it, isn't the recommended "fix" for most of the recent MSIE exploits to "use a different browser"? I hope Wells Fargo pays attention, and kicks IE users when this type of exploit is discovered and that recommendation is made. After all, it's not a suspected security hole ... it's verified.

12:52 am on Feb 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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one word - Nuts!
12:52 am on Feb 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



The following may well sum up the problem:

[list.opera.com ]


I've just found this thread:

[my.opera.com ]

I see now what's going on. I don't believe it's a bug, it looks like Opera
has been specially programmed to send a Mozilla 4.78 ID just to Wells
Fargo sites, and only on the first request. I reckon that's why people
have been able to use Opera at Wells Fargo up to now.

I'd be guessing, but perhaps the timeline is like this:

1. Wells Fargo implement a stupid browser sniffing function that excludes
Opera.
2. Wells Fargo refuse to implement a correct browser sniffer, or better
still, a capability-based detector.
3. Opera Software, in desperation to keep customers happy, implement a
special-case browser ID as Mozilla 4.78, just for Wells Fargo.
4. Wells Fargo site now works, Opera customers happy.
5. Wells Fargo changes their site, implement new stupid browser sniffer.
6. Wells Fargo contacted by Opera customers, investigate, find Opera IDing
as Mozilla 4.78. Bitch and moan that Opera is playing silly buggers.
Refuse to do anything.

12:56 am on Feb 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



In the "Information age" when all banks are competing for our buisness, trying to diferentiate, build sustainable USP's and market share, why would they want to to exclude one of their most security concious and potentailly lucrative, customer base segments?
1:47 am on Feb 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member encyclo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



iamlost has got the answer (nice work!), and it doesn't look to good for Opera Software. So, if I've got it right (please correct me if I'm wrong on any of this):

  • Opera hacked their browser to send out a user agent string declaring itself as Netscape 4.78 just to the Wells Fargo site rather than the usual one as a quick fix to a bug in an earlier version of the WF site.
  • Their "patch" to get round Wells Fargo's bad browser-sniffing code has now backfired as the fake user agent string is now the cause for the blocking rather than the solution.
  • It is Netscape 4 which is being blocked, not Opera, which would get through if it wasn't for the earlier hack.

    <added>In fact I'm partly wrong: Opera is still blocked, see later message!</added>

    So who's to blame? Wells Fargo certainly for some poor browser-sniffing and a narrow-minded approach to browser compatibility, but also Opera Software must take responsibility for the ad-hoc "patch" which is now causing so much trouble.

    [edited by: encyclo at 1:58 am (utc) on Feb. 3, 2005]

  • 1:50 am on Feb 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



    Wow! Only on the Internet. Fantastic (literally) sleuthing!

    And what an amazing example of open source-ish programming at work. (Opera's not under the GPL, but they have the attitude.) Some shmoe complains, they not only incorporate a "fix", but it's so user-specific as to be completely ignorable by any other browser manufacturer.

    Incredible.

    [edited by: StupidScript at 1:57 am (utc) on Feb. 3, 2005]

    1:54 am on Feb 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member encyclo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



    Already a correction: Opera is still going to be banned even if the user agent "patch" problem is fixed: the problem with Opera, according to WF, is with the "wand" feature - WF consider the password-saving feature of the wand is contrary to their security goals.

    So, a follow-on question: does the

    autocomplete="off"
    attribute for
    form
    and
    input
    tags not work in Opera (I'm pretty sure it does), and if used, does it correctly disable the wand feature, thus fixing the problem WF has with the browser?
    3:11 am on Feb 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member



    Re Wells Fargo Browser Issues

    I am still in LMAO mode, I have a beer this time so the damage is less annoying.

    I still think Wells Fargo is a joke.. and this recent browser sniffer confusion..... man o man.. the world with computers should have made things better, yet I seem to find myself drinking more and more and my parents calling me more and more for both reasons...
    1) They cant figure the computers out ever (They call me)
    2) They are worried I am drinking a bit more than ususal

    Seems 1 and 2 are an endless circle due to issues just like this Well Fargo thing.

    But then again I am 1/2 Irish, hehehe.

    Cheers to the ladies!

    Hollywood

    This 42 message thread spans 2 pages: 42