It’s firefox beta time again as version 3.6 of the superior browser to IE is now at beta 2. As per bloody usual though the existence of any browsers that don’t fall within their stupid browser detection routine makes Natwest (and probably RBS too) internet banking chuck a hissy fit. You would think by now that they would have gotten rid of this pointless sub routine and let the browser decide for itself if it is capable of rendering internet banking (and let’s face it if it works on most mobile phone browsers, the newest version of a mainstream desktop browser isn’t going to struggle to much).
Thankfully as per usual there is a workaround. Now normally this involves removing the beta element from the browser identity string so the browser identifies as the release version even though it isn’t out yet. Not this time though as Natwest refuse to acknowledge that a new version of firefox is coming…. there’s good web design, design your site so it breaks with every single browser release. So rather than telling a little white lie to the website we are going to have to tell a bare faced porky.
Crack open about:config ignoring any warnings about dragons as there is no such thing as dragons and even if there were Gandalf the master wizard will protect you. In the resultant screen search for the string “general.useragent.extra.firefox” and change the text from “Firefox/3.6b2” to “Firefox/3.5.5” and then stick two fingers up at what is the most stupid and pointless browser detection system known to man….. oh and the internet banking site will work once again too!
Once again an update to the firefox beta program has the potential to break Natwest/RBS online banking. For some inexplicable reason they detect what browser you are using and then make the decision for you whether it’s going to work or not regardless of if the browser you are using will work.
Fortunately, as I’ve previously posted HERE there is a way to solve the problem and fool natwest into thinking you are using a compatible browser.
The new problem is that mozilla have just reclassified the beta release from firefox 3.1 to firefox 3.5. The previous fix involved deleting the beta string from the user agent in about:config leaving Firefox/3.1 or Firefox/3.5 as the user agent. The new problem is that natwest don’t acknowledge the existence of firefox 3.5.
So for the meantime follow the steps in my previous fix making sure the identifier is Firefox/3.1 as before. Least until Natwest catch up or even better remove the stupid browser detection routine
I remember having this problem running the beta versions of firefox 3 and now the same issue is happening with firefox 3.1 (soon to be firefox 3.5).
Basically Natwest (and presumably RBS) online banking has the most atrocious browser detection routine which essentially looks at your browser user agent string and if it doesn’t match the strings it’s been told work with the site it refuses to let you in. Now this is stupid because the vast majority of modern browsers work with Natwest no problems however each time a new (or a beta) version comes out Natwest assume that it wont work with online banking.
So once again it’s time for my little trick to make Natwest think it’s working. This involves the following steps
- In the location bar type “about:config” and press enter
- You’ll then get a warning about dragons. As Peter Jones isn’t that scary just ignore it
- Find the preference “general.useragent.extra.firefox” and delete the b3 bit so it reads “Firefox/3.1”
- Laugh in the face of Natwest’s stupid browser detection system
- Log into internet banking
- Send me all your money (just kidding)