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Browser Privacy Test

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the which-one-works-best-in-a-frozen-home dept.

Privacy 133

lazyforker writes "A NYTimes blog post reports the results of security researcher Kate McKinley's tests of various browsers' (FireFox, Chrome, IE, Safari) privacy protection mechanisms. Specifically she tested their cookie handling. She also examined their handling of Flash's cookies. In summary: Safari on Mac OS X (in the 'private browsing' mode) is not so private ('quirky'). Safari on XP is not private at all. Flash behaves awfully everywhere."

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133 comments

Hey cats! Speaking of privacy... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26287619)

Looking for a new year's resolution? How about ratting out a business for money? Slashdot recommends genuine Business Software Alliance snitching [imageshack.us] , coming to a workplace near you!

My Privacy Test (5, Funny)

ian_from_brisbane (596121) | more than 5 years ago | (#26287671)

My undies are blue.
I'm secretly in love with my best friend's wife, but I like gay midget porn.

[preview]

Damn, Firefox privacy test failed :(

Re:My Privacy Test (4, Funny)

SpottedKuh (855161) | more than 5 years ago | (#26287793)

Damn, Firefox privacy test failed :(

Next time, try "Post Anonymously"

...ah, hell, it's New Year's Eve. Go ahead and try your best friend's wife instead ;)

...or, you know, some midgets. Your call...

Re:My Privacy Test (0, Troll)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 5 years ago | (#26287949)

I am kind of hoping his best friends wife is a midget. Or maybe just watch his best friends wife doing a midget.

Re:My Privacy Test (3, Funny)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288223)

I'm secretly in love with my best friend's wife, but I like gay midget porn.

You think you have problems? Your best friend's wife's name is Steve. She has a beard and is 86cm tall.

One word (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26287701)

Flash behaves awfully everywhere

FlashBlock [mozdev.org]

NoScript works too but I find it sort of annoying because it stops half the web from working.

Re:One word (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26287757)

NoScript works too but I find it sort of annoying because it stops half the web from working.

Exactly why I love it. Half the web annoys me.

Re:One word (1)

lazy_nihilist (1220868) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288099)

I agree. If the website doesn't bother to serve proper web pages to javascript disabled browsers, then it is not really worth it. On the other hand you have some websites that require AJAX functionality to deliver proper services, like google maps, in such cases you can use the whitelist as long as you trust the site.

Re:One word (3, Interesting)

Snowblindeye (1085701) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288689)

I agree. If the website doesn't bother to serve proper web pages to javascript disabled browsers, then it is not really worth it.

I'm not sure if that's true when you are using noscript. Certainly for flashblock it isn't true, because the site identifies your browser as being able to run flash.

In other words, they might have a flash and a non flash version, but they serve you the full flash version cause you *are* flash enabled, just blocked. With noscript you might get a javascript page, even though you block it. Of course that depends on how they implement the degradation of service, some websites will do it right.

That's apart from the fact that your assume that bad web programming means bad content. That's not the case. If I want to go to a site cause using it is beneficial to me, then I want to use it, whether they have smart or dumb people coding it.

I know I've found that with noscript I find myself constantly managing permissions, instead of browsing. Flashblock is a little less annoying, but obviously less complete in its blocking.

Re:One word (1)

Laser_iCE (1125271) | more than 5 years ago | (#26289643)

I agree. If the website doesn't bother to serve proper web pages to javascript disabled browsers, then it is not really worth it.

I'm not sure if that's true when you are using noscript. Certainly for flashblock it isn't true, because the site identifies your browser as being able to run flash.

In other words, they might have a flash and a non flash version, but they serve you the full flash version cause you *are* flash enabled, just blocked. With noscript you might get a javascript page, even though you block it. Of course that depends on how they implement the degradation of service, some websites will do it right.

That's apart from the fact that your assume that bad web programming means bad content. That's not the case. If I want to go to a site cause using it is beneficial to me, then I want to use it, whether they have smart or dumb people coding it.

I know I've found that with noscript I find myself constantly managing permissions, instead of browsing. Flashblock is a little less annoying, but obviously less complete in its blocking.

You set the permissions for sites that you visit often, and you never have to set them again. Most sites that you visit to once or twice don't need scripts to load (if it's a news site for example), so you don't have to set the permission, and simply leave it. If it saves me from a frame that loads a malicious script from another site (which it has done a couple of times now), then I'm more than happy to allow/disallow certain sites from running scripts in my browser. Especially those damn advertising companies.

Re:One word (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290373)

Certainly for flashblock it isn't true, because the site identifies your browser as being able to run flash.

They should have a link to the non-flash site anyway. Having browser support for flash != wanting to use it.

Re:One word (2, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#26289307)

More like 90%. it's actually less annoying to "Temporarily allow all of this page" when necessary than it is the other way around.

ccleaner (1)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 5 years ago | (#26287763)

Always wished, there was something like ccleaner for Linux. Ditto for spyware detectors. Sure it won't take over the rest of the system but my important stuff is, well, in my account. Looks like the only semi-safe way to run a browser these days is in a virtual sandbox.

Re:One word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26288953)

Well it's half the web's fault for using so much client side scripting that their sites won't work properly without flash, java, and javascript. I use noscript all the time and it has never bothered me. I don't like the idea of anyone and everyone running scripts locally on my machine. I choose who gets to run scripts on my box! Also, it goes beyond privacy concerns. The new attack vector is scripting. Even javascript can get you infected.

Now mind you, these aren't as idiotic as ActiveX, but they still present a real security risk.

Re:One word (2, Interesting)

xenobyte (446878) | more than 5 years ago | (#26289543)

You can easily turn that on which you need to work. But stupid ad-serving junk, dumb statistics which delay loading significantly, annoying animations and downright mean stuff stays turned off for me.

I find NoScript absolutely vital to a useful web surfing experience, and it's always the first extension I install on new FF installations.

Re:One word (1)

auric_dude (610172) | more than 5 years ago | (#26289993)

Although it stops half the web from working the half that does work is the half that is worth viewing or so I have been told.

If you are that worried... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26287777)

Then you delete your "flash cookies" at http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager07.html [macromedia.com]

IT allows you to access the flash Settings Manager and delete things one by one.

If you are that worried... (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288853)

If you're that worried, connect through wireless to your neighbor's open wireless access point. Then open a VM and boot it to Ubuntu or some other Live CD and use that to browse whatever you want.

And remember dear: there's nothing to be embarassed or ashamed about, but wash your hands afterward.

Re:If you are that worried... (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288875)

You could also just delete ~/.macromedia/Flash_Player or the equivalent on your OS.

Re:If you are that worried... (1)

slash.duncan (1103465) | more than 5 years ago | (#26289475)

Or... choose not to run "servitudeyware" in the first place. See the sig. Macromedia flash won't touch /my/ computer, at least until it's freedomware.

(FWIW I ran the swfdec-mozilla plugin for awhile, but eventually removed it. I run konqueror by default anyway, and use the youtube-servicemenu package for youtube downloads, or some downloader extension on iceweasel, and don't worry about other flash, or any of the recent flash security vulns, or the privacy-leaking flash-cookies.)

What I know about *BSD (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26287819)

What I know about BSD,
  1. You can not play games on it.
  2. It cannot be used by my grandma.
  3. It lacks a GUI of any note.
  4. There is no support available for it.
  5. It is an assortment of fragmented OSes.
  6. It cannot be run easily on the x86 platform.
  7. You have to compile everything and know C.
  8. Support for the latest hardware is always poor.
  9. It is incompatiable with GNU/Linux.
  10. It is dying.

Re:What I know about *BSD (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26287991)

11. ...
12. Profit!

Re:What I know about *BSD (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26288399)

fail.

Flash (4, Interesting)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 5 years ago | (#26287821)

Under what circumstances does Flash not behave awfully? Despite being a Linux fan, and more than a little cold on Microsoft (though I did buy an Xbox 360 - matter of price at the time...), I almost hope Silverlight takes off so Adobe have some serious, commercially driven competition for Flash. Maybe then they won't take their user base for granted and; oh I don't know, maybe put some work into making Flash GOOD?

Re:Flash (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288075)

Under what circumstances does Flash not behave awfully?

64-bit Debian Testing & Unstable (64-bit flash 10 alpha)

Re:Flash (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288077)

I complained about the same thing, but with the latest 64bit flash 10 betas, I have been pleasantly surprised. Performance is pretty darn good, and it works exactly as you'd expect it to, no more JavaScript menus hidden by the flash object or any of that. I still prefer it to Silverlight, because as much as Adobe takes non-mainstream OS's for granted, Microsoft views them with hostility. "Embrace, extend, extinguish" was not a phrase created in a vacuum.

Re:Flash (3, Interesting)

mmu_man (107529) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288137)

flash is not a standard. it's closed source, so not available everywhere, and unaccessible, unindexable... exactly what the web is not supposed to be.
cf. http://www.anybrowser.org/campaign/ [anybrowser.org]
Sorry no, gnash or swfdec are not there yet, besides, whoever looked at porting them must have noticed they aren't portable despite being opensource, dependancy hell here I come. Just check the never finished BeOS port of gnash. I don't see silverlight being better anytime soon.
At least Java is open now, so it can be ported.
But it's not accessible to blind people for ex.

Why don't they make websites instead ?

Re:Flash (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288327)

The Linux community, which has less than 1% of marketshare on the desktop, has a rather incomplete open source version of the flash player. And you claim that the fact that the BeOS/Haiku community (I'll say it's 1% the size of the Linux community and consider that a generous estimate) hasn't ported it* is proof that porting it isn't possible?

* Wikipedia claims that there is an early port for BeOS, as well as RISC OS and BSD

Re:Flash (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26288461)

Good heavens, someone is wrong on the Internet!

SWF is open, and we can glimpse the Flash Player's innards in Tamarin- but none of that even matters.

Pragmatically, is there a really important reason why you want the Flash Player to be entirely open? Would an open source Flash Player really be a better working piece of software than what we've got now?

Also, the Flash Player has support for screen readers and SEO indexing. Flash has support for lots of things that just aren't implemented in 90% of the SWFs you'll come across. A poorly scripted program says little about the platform it runs on. You wouldn't blame the Mozilla Foundation for bad websites, would you? That wouldn't make any sense.

I agree that Flash is not a standard, although wide adoption of SWF as a web standard is possibly a stronger motivation for Adobe to clean up the player than any competitive pressure that Silverlight may provide. And despite not being a standard, people will continue to use Flash to create web content, because it is a successful medium.

Just not the right medium for handling online banking. Wrong tool for that task. (Sorry Arcot.)

Re:Flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26288725)

You wouldn't blame the Mozilla Foundation for bad websites, would you? That wouldn't make any sense.

Hell yeah I would, a lot of bad HTML design came from Netscape, and Microsoft was no better in many cases.

When browsers were growing, irresponsible corporations were feeding bad web "developers" new features that weren't designed properly to begin with.

Re:Flash (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26289203)

Would an open source Flash Player really be a better working piece of software than what we've got now?

If it respected my 'zero animations' browser setting, yes it would be. If it had a working 'STOP' button, yes it would be. If it had simple, basic functionality of Flashblock, yes it would be.

Re:Flash (5, Interesting)

howlingmadhowie (943150) | more than 5 years ago | (#26290047)

SWF is open

every time someone repeats this lie i end up posting a link to this film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoNvsiBTQDE [youtube.com]

Pragmatically, is there a really important reason why you want the Flash Player to be entirely open? Would an open source Flash Player really be a better working piece of software than what we've got now?

it would allow me to do everything a wanted with a non-intel architecture. flash is the last bastion of hardware (and operating system) lock-in for me.

Re:Flash (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26289383)

Recommended reading [wikipedia.org] as far as Flash and standards. If you said "people use it as an excuse to make hard-to-navigate, crappy web sites that don't do anything useful" , I would have agreed whole-heartedly. Instead, you seem to be the case that because a small minority of users can't view Flash pages, nobody should use it.

The unfortunate truth of the matter is that Flash /is/ a de facto standard. It runs on the platforms that the vast majority of the computing world uses, and most folks don't ever have to do anything to configure it.

Microsoft is Still Evil! Hurray! (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288251)

Privacy issues aside, I've never had any trouble with Flash. Quite the contrary: Flash applications always seem to have fewer bugs and hassles than other embedded applications. I'm particularly grateful that the Flash media player is displacing MS Media Player, Real Player, and Quicktime, all of which are obnoxious as hell.

I should mention that I run The Evil OS. Probably the difference in your experience is due to your running Linux. You might find it instructive to try running a few Silverlight apps on Linux. I would predict that your experience won't be any better. Of course, Moonlight, the Linux version of Silverlight, is Open Source. So at least while you're beating your head against the wall, you'll be politically correct!

Re:Microsoft is Still Evil! Hurray! (5, Insightful)

grcumb (781340) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288553)

Privacy issues aside, I've never had any trouble with Flash.

I like your logic: Aside from a single tile, Columbia's last mission went flawlessly.

Seriously, though: you've underlined the single greatest problem in computer security today - what we don't see can hurt us. I've written about this [imagicity.com] at greater length elsewhere, but to put it simply, privacy is the battleground of our decade.

The struggle to come to terms with privacy will manifest itself in the legal, moral and ethical arenas, but it arises now because of technology and the cavalier approach that the vast majority of people take to it.

The ramifications of our ability to transmit, access and synthesise vast amounts of data using technology are consistently underestimated by people because of the simple fact that, as far as they're concerned, they are sitting in the relative privacy of their own room with nothing but the computer screen as an intermediary.

On the consumer side of things, this creates what Schneier calls a Market for Lemons [imagicity.com] in which the substance of the product becomes less valuable than its appearance. As long as we have the illusion of security, we don't worry about the lack of real protection.

On the institutional side, we see countless petty abuses of people's privacy. There is nothing stopping a low-level employee from watching this data simply out of prurient interest. In fact, this kind of abuse happens almost every time comprehensive surveillance is conducted. In a famous example, low-level staffers in the US National Security Agency would regularly listen in [go.com] on romantic conversations between soldiers serving in Iraq and their wives at home. The practice became so common that some even created 'Greatest Hits' compilations of their favourites and shared them with other staffers.

They would never have done so had the people in question been in the room, but because the experience is intermediated by an impersonal computer screen, which can inflict no retribution on them, their worst instincts get the better of them.

When discussing software in the 21st Century, we cannot ever treat privacy as just one incidental aspect of a greater system. Privacy defines the system. Starting an argument by throwing it aside in the first subordinate clause gives little weight to any argument that follows.

Re:Microsoft is Still Evil! Hurray! (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 5 years ago | (#26289669)

I dual boot Windows, although I use Linux mainly, and I have almost as many problems with Flash in Windows as I do in Linux. It's buggy and bloated on any platform, though I admit the Linux support is worse (32 bit Ubuntu - well, Mint actually, but that makes little difference in 99% of cases).

I'm not an open source user out of philosophy, I'm one out of practicality. Overall I find that I have less problems with open source software, but I don't use it for warm fuzzy open source feelings. I use Mint, which is almost the complete polar opposite of gNewsense (nuisance?), so I see myself as the seafood eating vegetarian to Richard Stallman's vegan. If Gnash were less buggy for the majority of Flash I encountered, I'd use it instead of the Adobe plugin, but only because of quality, not philosophy. The reason I hope Silverlight takes off is not because of it's open source counterpart Moonlight, but because there is only one thing a company understands, and it's their bottom line. For what feels like an eternity, Adobe have been under almost no pressure to improve Flash. They've churned out incremental upgrades so they can sell more copies of their tools; much like Microsoft, after crushing Word Perfect, were under no pressure to improve MS Office. I feel dirty to be on Microsoft's side this time, but when Microsoft bring their brand of "competition", you either shape up or sell up. I just hope Adobe shape up, rather than sell up.

Re:Flash (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288863)

I almost hope Silverlight takes off so Adobe have some serious, commercially driven competition for Flash.

I hope Adobe takes note of your comment. Microsoft is eating Adobe's product lines one by one. Soon they'll be after Photoshop. Adobe could go cross platform. Or they could just keep feeding the mouth that bites them. The list of companies that chose option B is quite long, so I'm not holding my breath.

It's spelt Firefox (0)

Goodgerster (904325) | more than 5 years ago | (#26287923)

When will people stop capitalising the second F in Firefox? Or are we all going to use FireFox in future? Perhaps InterNet Explorer and SaFari could join in.

Re:It's spelt Firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26287937)

That's nothing. I keep calling it Foxfire.

Yeah, I'm getting old.

Re:It's spelt Firefox (1)

ITEric (1392795) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288169)

That's nothing. I keep calling it Foxfire.

I do that from time to time, too :P OTOH, I'd probably feel a little more secure browsing with Clint Eastwood...

Oh wait, I guess that'd be a browser built by old-timey hillbillies [foxfire.org] ...Yeah, I'd still use that :D

Re:It's spelt Firefox (2, Funny)

Mozk (844858) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288475)

It's spelled spelled.

That is, unless you're British.

Re:It's spelt Firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26290125)

Yeah, what do we Englishmen know about English!

Re:It's spelt Firefox (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288919)

You do know there's a plugin called Firesomething [mozilla.org] , right? Call it what you want. Or install Firesomething and "All your branding are belong to Firesomething." Every time it starts it can have a different name.

Yes, it's for 1.x Firefox. There are instructions in the link to fix it so it works with versions up to 4.0.

Who is Kate McKinley? (3, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288005)

I was just wondering who Kate McKinley really is. Most of all, I am skeptical as to whether she is even qualified to be called a "security researcher" at all.

Why? Because Wikipedia returns [wikipedia.org] no hits for "Kate McKinley" and a Google search returns [google.ca] results that are sketchy or even anemic when it comes to browser security at best.

May be I should also put up my own research...may be, then call my self a "Security researcher."

Re:Who is Kate McKinley? (5, Funny)

Earthquake Retrofit (1372207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288217)

I was just wondering who Kate McKinley really is. Most of all, I am skeptical as to whether she is even qualified to be called a "security researcher" at all.

Why? Because Wikipedia returns [wikipedia.org] no hits for "Kate McKinley" and a Google search returns [google.ca] results that are sketchy or even anemic when it comes to browser security at best.

Maybe she's a privacy expert too.

Re:Who is Kate McKinley? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26288219)

I was just wondering who Kate McKinley really is. Most of all, I am skeptical as to whether she is even qualified to be called a "security researcher" at all.

You're missing the point. What the average Slashdotter wants to know is: Is she hot ?

Re:Who is Kate McKinley? (2, Insightful)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288311)

First links I tried, after reading the header of the paper, saying:

                    Cleaning Up After Cookies
                              Version 1.0
Katherine McKinley – kate[at]isecpartners[dot]com
                            iSEC Partners, Inc
                    444 Spear Street, Suite 105
                      San Francisco, CA 94105
                https://www.isecpartners.com/ [isecpartners.com]

would be ... I don't know, maybe http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/@stake [wikipedia.org] ;-) ?

Re:Who is Kate McKinley? (3, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288355)

From the papers, the paper is credited to iSec partners. This company has almost no details on itself on the web page. The domain was registered in late 2004, and appears to be renewed year to year, which, to me, is suspicious for a going concern.

That and the way the paper is written makes me suspicious as well.

Re:Who is Kate McKinley? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288385)

and a Google search returns [google.ca] results that are sketchy or even anemic when it comes to browser security at best.

Well, I guess she takes her privacy seriously.

Re:Who is Kate McKinley? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26288429)

Yes, actually, you would be a security researcher if you published your own research. Go ahead, try it...

A good portfolio of work is better evidence of qualification than Google hits or a Wikipedia page.

You read her paper, right?

Re:Who is Kate McKinley? (3, Insightful)

argiedot (1035754) | more than 5 years ago | (#26289599)

May be I should also put up my own research...may be, then call my self a "Security researcher."

Well, yes, yes you could. Why on earth does the author of the paper have to be on Google or Wikipedia? All the information you need is in the paper itself including an explanation of the methodology and _the freaking damn code itself_!

Re:Who is Kate McKinley? (4, Interesting)

Klootzak (824076) | more than 5 years ago | (#26289701)

Who cares who she is? The paper she's credited with writing is by no means revolutionary...

Here's a couple of easy tips to help maintain a minor level of privacy while browsing:

- Disable Third-Party cookies (Option under "privacy" tab under Firefox versions >3.0).
- Add entries to your local hosts file fudging the DNS of known "WebSpy", sorry, I mean "WebAnalytics" domains.

My current hosts file contains entries similar to the following (but a few more than I list here):

--- Hosts File Example ---
127.0.0.1 localhost
127.0.0.1 www.google-analytics.com
127.0.0.1 google-analytics.com
127.0.0.1 ths.news.com.au
127.0.0.1 adsfac.net
--- End Hosts File Example ---

Host File Locations:
Windows - %SystemRoot%\system32\drivers\etc\hosts
Most Unixes - /etc/hosts
Mac OS X - /etc/hosts

The reason for utilizing the hosts file is to prevent such things as uniquely-generated transparent images (GIFs for instance) being used as inserts in pages to track your browsing in the advent you disable cookies, just add new domains/hosts to the file as you find them.

In any case, the point is more or less moot, you can minimize your privacy issues, but as any good security professional knows, where there's a will there's a way... and you can be tracked in a number of ways, understanding of how HTTP [wikipedia.org] , DNS [wikipedia.org] and other transfer protocols (also lower-level protocol layers) work will help you minimize your exposure though... if you're concerned, read up on the OSI/ISO network model [wikipedia.org] and how IP [wikipedia.org] and TCP [wikipedia.org] work.

Fundamental flaw in survey (3, Informative)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288021)

Since it appears that the author of the "study" chose the browsers to test based upon popularity, the "researcher" based the survey upon the mistaken assumption that popularity is an indication of security perception.

Microsoft's Internet Explorer, as the mos tpopular browser, disproves tha tpopularity does not equate to the perception of security.

A better basis for the selection of browsers would be to select those thought to be secure. That would eliminate IE and Safari at the start, and it might even add Opera.

Re:Fundamental flaw in survey (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288281)

Absolutely. IE and Safari are created to allow the average user to browse average content without thinking about the technical details. That means that cookies has to be on, flash has to be on, and everything has to be relatively open. Otherwise it will not work when trying to download the baby pics or naughty movie. The privacy mode, now in both, is a very good compromise in that it leaves everything open, but more or less covers your tracks when you leave. Of course, the key is more or less, and the average user may not understand that it might less than more. Some of the other browsers assume, at lesat in part, that the users understands what is going on and is set up accordingly.

The key really is that both of these browsers are written to maximize revenue for the content providers, which is not bad, as content needs to be paid for. That is why flash is not easy to turn off, even in safari(though I hear there is now a free plugin). So, for users who want simplicity, and want free content, tends to give up privacy. For the others, firefox on MS, camino on mac, and lynx on *nix.

Re:Fundamental flaw in survey (1)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288285)

Huh? She tested, and I quote: "Mozilla's Firefox, Google's Chrome, Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Apple's Safari". That's a perfectly fine selection of browsers, it's all the major browsers on the market right now. It's true that she could have added Opera (although whether it's a major browser is certainly up for debate) but that doesn't require dropping any browsers. Tests not run do not tell us any useful information.

Konqueror and Safari should not be left out. (2)

Erris (531066) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288325)

Konqueror, the parent of what's good in Safari, has good privacy protection. It is "unpopular" because there's not a Winblows version yet, but it is one of the better browsers available. Mozilla runs a good second place.

Re:Konqueror and Safari should not be left out. (2, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288383)

Now, I'm posting this from Konqueror on Linux as god intended and all that; but http://windows.kde.org/ [kde.org] is the place to look if you want Konqueror goodness on Windows. Quite possibly still in the rough edges stage, but a large amount of KDE 4 stuff is being brought over to Windows.

Re:Fundamental flaw in survey (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26289627)

How about you RTFA.
She claims to have tested Opera. Of course the NY Times and Slashdot don't RTFA.
Then agtain, TFA is a piece of shit without any value whatsoever.
And Google Chrome is hardly a major browser, fuck, it's hardly a browser. You're a fucking idiot.

Re:Fundamental flaw in survey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26288453)

I missed the part where anyone said that popularity indicates strength of security.

Further, a test of virtually unused browsers benefits nobody and would have no reading audience.

Re:Fundamental flaw in survey (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288791)

I missed the part where anyone said that popularity indicates strength of security.

.
As, it appears, did the "researcher". So what does that say about this "security" study?

Re:Fundamental flaw in survey (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288909)

And who said it was a security study? All the paper says is that they're investigating the effectiveness of privacy settings of the major browsers.

"Bitch" and "moan" and "put stuff in quotes" as much as you want, but the study is perfectly fine. Even if somebody, somewhere did call it a security study--and I've seen no evidence of that anybody being anyone other than you thus far--the study remains just as valid as if nobody had. There's always a domain associated with studies, and this particular reports' domain is the major browsers.

If she had been claiming to unearth the Most Secure Browser In Existance(tm) and didn't study all possible alternatives, then you may have a point about the veracity of the study. As it stands, I don't think you've added anything at all of value to the discussion.

The study is what it is. Wishing it were something else doesn't make it a bad study. Maybe it's bad all on its own, but this ain't it.

Clean out the '\Flash Player' folder (2, Informative)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288039)

For windows users you should delete everything in this folder: C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Macromedia\Flash Player

Re:Clean out the '\Flash Player' folder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26288317)

For Mac users who want to remove their Flash shared objects, remove the files here:

~/Library/Preferences/Macromedia/Flash Player

Re:Clean out the '\Flash Player' folder (3, Interesting)

robo_mojo (997193) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288567)

For Linux users you want to (after rm'ing) symlink ~/.adobe and ~/.macromedia to /dev/null.

Re:Clean out the '\Flash Player' folder (2, Informative)

gnud (934243) | more than 5 years ago | (#26289749)

In case someone takes this at blind faith -- the ~/.adobe folder also contains Acrobat data.

But kill ~/.macromedia, and ~/.adobe/Flash_Player =)

cringe-inducing bug in konqueror (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26288369)

Posting this anonymously, for reasons that will soon be evident.

Here's a really nasty privacy bug in konqueror. Let's say you visit gaymidgetsex.com. Then you go to View : View Document Source. Well, on my default install of Ubuntu, this doesn't actually show you the html source code of the web page. Instead, it downloads the html file to /tmp and opens it in OpenOffice, which attempts to render it as an OpenOffice document -- it doesn't actually show you the html source, which is what you asked it to do. Okay, so now you have gay midget porn open in an OOo document, which isn't what you wanted. So you close the OOo window.

Now the next time you start Ooo, go to File : Recent Documents. Oops.

Re:cringe-inducing bug in konqueror (3, Informative)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288407)

Posting this anonymously, for reasons that will soon be evident.

You do realize that you didn't have to use your real sexual preferences as an example, don't you?

Re:cringe-inducing bug in konqueror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26288963)

That's a bug in Ubuntu, Konqueror uses KDEs mime type associations for opening files.

On my Gentoo system without Gnome, View>View Document Source opens the HTML in KWrite as expected.

If you want to change the file associations use Settings>Configure Konqueror, go to File Associations, type "html" in the filename pattern search box then select text/html from the list view. In the panel on the right, highlight the program you want to view HTML with (or add it if it isn't there already) and click "Move Up" until its at the top of the list.

[I'm always stunned at the confusion people display at identifying the actual cause of their problems, even when no computer is present]

Re:cringe-inducing bug in konqueror (3, Informative)

slash.duncan (1103465) | more than 5 years ago | (#26289453)

WTF gave you the idea that's a konqueror bug? Why would opening a document in OOo, which isn't even developed/shipped by the same (upstream) people as konqueror, be a konqueror bug?

No, rather, as AC already posted, konqueror will with default associations as shipped by upstream (KDE), using the "view source" function, open pages using kwrite or kate or kedit. Assuming it's not a PEBCAK issue of the local sysadmin or user, OOo at least as shipped by Ubuntu appears to change that default by associating HTML (or possibly XML) files with itself, at a higher priority than kwrite/whatever-else. That's either Ubuntu's fault or OOo's (or the sysadmin/user for overriding the distribution defaults, if that's why the associations are set the way they are), but it certainly isn't KDE/Konqueror's, as KDE isn't what setup those associations, it's just doing what it's supposed to and following the file associations config as setup on the system it's installed on, as overruled by the config of the user running it, if they have chosen to do so.

Looked at a different way, it would be either OOo's bug, for having a recent documents history that can't be disabled (if that's indeed the case), or a user PEBCAK, for not disabling said history or wiping it out after opening a document they don't wish to appear in said history.

Browser privacy (0)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26288735)

If you want it, use Lynx.

Custom compile it, or configure it to send minimal headers, refuse cookies, and supply a bogus user-agent.

mod IUp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26289133)

so that their lost its earlieR contact to see if Ballots. You could recruitment, buLt Comprehensive name on the jar of

Safari's privacy mode is for local privacy (2, Insightful)

hayne (545353) | more than 5 years ago | (#26289853)

Safari's "Private browsing" mode is not intended to keep info on your computer (e.g. previous cookies etc) from being sent to web servers. It is intended for the reverse - to keep the details of your browsing session private from others who might access your account using that computer. I.e. it merely prevents records being kept about your browsing session.
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