Computing Displeasure


If my bank were to check the access logs of their online banking site, they’d discover a few requests every day with the following user agent:

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en; rv: Gecko/20071127 Firefox/ (actually 3.0b5 but a certain banking site won't let me in unless I lie about it)

Someone should tell them that trying to block people using user agent sniffing is about as futile as trying to reduce the teenage pregnancy rate by means of abstinence-only education.

7 replies on “Bankers”

Ha, that’s brilliant!

Although it does rather assume they have anyone who actually looks at the log files, and/or will understand WTF you’re doing there. 🙂

But still, it made me chuckle.

I know they probably won’t look at the logs, but I felt that it was worth a go, just in case. I’m glad that it brought you a smile, anyway.

RR: Basically, whenever your web browser requests a page from a server anywhere in the world, one of the pieces of information that it sends is the user agent. This identifies what browser and operating system you are using. Similarly, when a search engine spider is crawling a website, it uses the user agent to identify itself as googlebot or whatever.

My bank has an explicit list of accepted user agents, including Firefox 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0. They reject everything else, including Firefox 3.0. However, it’s quite simple, especially using this Firefox extension, to modify the user agent that your browser sends, and hence fool the online banking site.

Gordon: thanks.

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