When Private Browsing isn't so private — Totseans

When Private Browsing isn't so private

LSA KingLSA King Regular
edited August 2010 in Tech & Games
BROWSING ALTERNATIVE INTEREST WEBSITES might not be as private as users hope, according to research to be presented at an insecurity conference next week.

Researchers have shown that 'private' browsing modes in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari all leave traces of information behind, despite their claims that all traces of users' web surfing would be wiped clean upon exiting private mode or when the browser was shut down. The researchers also noted that the way operating systems, including both Windows and Linux, handle virtual memory could also lead to after hours browsing habits being revealed.

It's no big surprise that the researchers found that users engaged browsers' private mode when surfing across the more, er, colourful and revealing sites on the web. However the fragility of privacy modes wasn't due to webmasters employing dodgy tricks, rather it was down to poor design on the part of the browsers' software coders.

Apparently SSL certificates, third party add-ons and even protocol queries can lead to browser privacy being compromised. Out of the 32 most popular Javascript add-ons for Firefox, half left traces of activity behind that were not deleted.

The situation is so bad that in the worst case scenario, the researchers claim that the design flaws would "enable a local attacker to completely defeat the benefits of private mode." The researchers also claim that there could be a possibility of "privacy leakage" through accessing RAM.

Nevertheless, the research seems to show that users who want to keep their activities to themselves have to worry about more than just suppressing pop-ups. Rather it is the browser itself coupled with third party add-ons that could end up embarrassing web surfers.

Source: http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1726985/plug-ins-puncture-porn-privacy

Opera wins again. Flawless Victory. Someday the rest of the world will see as I did a year ago that you can't beat the 12 years of experience they have under their belt :).


  • KamuyKamuy Acolyte
    edited August 2010
    I've used this for years;
    About once or twice a fortnight I just run that, also I have a couple program files set to 'read only' so some information isnt logged.
  • fanglekaifanglekai Regular
    edited August 2010
    So the moral is don't have addons?
  • LSA KingLSA King Regular
    edited August 2010
    fanglekai wrote: »
    So the moral is don't have addons?

    The moral is, use O&O SafeErase 4 every time you want your browser history completely erased and unrecoverable :).
  • AmieAmie Regular
    edited August 2010
    All this talk about traces of your internet activity on your computer is quite the load of overhyped bullshit in my honest opinion.

    If you wanna hide your browsing activity from your computer-illiterate girlfriend / mother / brother ... private mode on firefox / IE / Opera is good enough. Like any of those knows that Java is anything besides a sunny vacation destination, let alone is capable of searching trough your Java caches to find which porn sites you visited. "OOh noezz, private browsing isn't private!" Guess what, Einstein? Nothing you do on the internet (or on a computer) is 100% private, get over it and learn to live with it.

    If you really have something to hide from an experienced computer user you must be incredibly dumb to do it on a system he can examine. Either encrypt your system partition (and don't let him on it) or - if that's not an option - use a live disc, it's that simple. That way you won't be leaving any recoverable traces on the computer. Off course, if he really is experienced and out to get you, his router is probably keeping a log of any visited sites, or he could start complaining to his ISP about his bandwidth limit being exceeded too soon and then they give him a complete list of sites visited from his connection and ammount downloaded from them with times and dates as proof ... (Think your ISP doesn't keep logs of your internet activity? Think again!)

    Ya know what they say: just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.
  • SpookSpook Regular
    edited August 2010
    Yeah, but I thought ISPs usually only kept data for around a few months max. I doubt most of them, except for the huge ones have the resources to keep tabs on everyone.
  • bornkillerbornkiller Administrator In your girlfriends snatch
    edited August 2010
    :( My ISP sucks balls.......Damn them to Hell!:mad:
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