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Firefox Web Browser Now Blocks Third-Party Tracking Cookies By Default

Firefox Web Browser Now Blocks Third-Party Tracking Cookies By Default

June 04, 2019Mohit Kumar
As promised, Mozilla has finally enabled "Enhanced Tracking Protection" feature on its Firefox browser by default, which from now onwards would automatically block all third-party tracking cookies that allow advertisers and websites to track you across the web. Tracking cookies, also known as third-party cookies, allows advertisers to monitor your online behavior and interests, using which they display relevant advertisements, content, and promotions on the websites you visit. Which makes sense as no one likes to waste time in watching advertisements and offers that are not of one's interest. However, since tracking cookies gather way more information without requiring users' explicit permissions and there is no control over how companies would use it, the technique also poses a massive threat to users' online privacy. To limit this extensive tracking, Mozilla included the "Enhanced Tracking Protection" option as an experimental feature in Octo
Apple Blocks Sites From Abusing HSTS Security Standard to Track Users

Apple Blocks Sites From Abusing HSTS Security Standard to Track Users

March 20, 2018Swati Khandelwal
If you are unaware, the security standard HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) can be abused as a 'supercookie' to surreptitiously track users of almost every modern web browser online without their knowledge even when they use "private browsing." Apple has now added mitigations to its open-source browser infrastructure WebKit that underpins its Safari web browser to prevent HSTS abuse after discovering that theoretical attacks demonstrated in 2015 were recently deployed in the wild against Safari users. HSTS—HTTP Strict Transport Security—is a great feature that allows websites to automatically redirects user's web traffic to secure page connections over HTTPS if the user accidentally opens an insecure URL and then remembers to route that user to the secure connection always. Since HSTS does not allow websites to store any information/value on users web browser except remembering the redirect information about turning it on/off for future use, using
Yahoo Reveals 32 Million Accounts Were Hacked Using 'Cookie Forging Attack'

Yahoo Reveals 32 Million Accounts Were Hacked Using 'Cookie Forging Attack'

March 02, 2017Mohit Kumar
Yahoo has just revealed that around 32 million user accounts were accessed by hackers in the last two years using a sophisticated cookie forging attack without any password. These compromised accounts are in addition to the Yahoo accounts affected by the two massive data breaches that the company disclosed in last few months. The former tech giant said that in a regulatory filing Wednesday that the cookie caper is likely linked to the "same state-sponsored actor" thought to be behind a separate, 2014 data breach that resulted in the theft of 500 Million user accounts . "Based on the investigation, we believe an unauthorized third party accessed the company's proprietary code to learn how to forge certain cookies," Yahoo said in its annual report filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). "The outside forensic experts have identified approximately 32 million user accounts for which they believe forged cookies were used or taken
Critical iOS Flaw allowed Hackers to Steal Cookies from Devices

Critical iOS Flaw allowed Hackers to Steal Cookies from Devices

January 21, 2016Swati Khandelwal
Apple has patched a critical vulnerability in its iOS operating system that allowed criminal hackers to impersonate end users' identities by granting read/write access to website's unencrypted authentication cookies. The vulnerability was fixed with the release of iOS 9.2.1 on Tuesday, almost three years after it was first discovered and reported to Apple. The vulnerability, dubbed " Captive Portal " bug, was initially discovered by Adi Sharabani and Yair Amit from online security company Skycure and privately reported to Apple in June 2013. Here's How the Vulnerability Worked The vulnerability caused due to the way iOS handles Cookie Stores at Captive Portals , generally a login page that requires users to authenticate themselves before connecting to the free or paid public Wi-Fi hotspots when they are first joining. So, when a user with a vulnerable iPhone or iPad connects to a captive-enabled network ( sample page shown in the screensho
Here's How Websites Are Tracking You Online

Here's How Websites Are Tracking You Online

October 28, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Webmasters can track all your activities on the Internet – even if you have already cleared your browsing history and deleted all saved cookies. A researcher demonstrated two unpatched flaws that can be exploited to track Millions of Internet users, allowing malicious website owners: List Building: To compile a list of visited domains by users, even if they have cleared their browsing history Tracking Cookies: To tag users with a tracking cookie that will persist even after they have deleted all cookies These two Browser Fingerprinting techniques abuse HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) and Content Security Policy – new security features already built into Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, and expected to make their ways to other mainstream browsers in near future. WHAT IF, The Website owners turn these Security features against You? A security researcher has proved exactly the same last weekend at Toorcon security conference in San Diego. Yan Zhu, an
Exploiting Browser Cookies to Bypass HTTPS and Steal Private Information

Exploiting Browser Cookies to Bypass HTTPS and Steal Private Information

September 25, 2015Swati Khandelwal
A newly discovered critical flaw in the implementation of web cookies by major browsers could open secured (HTTPS) browsing to Man-in-the-middle attacks . The US Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) has revealed that all the main browser vendors have improperly implemented the RFC 6265 Standard, also referred to as " Browser Cookies ," allowing… …remote attackers to bypass secure HTTPS protocol and reveal confidential private session data. Cookies are small pieces of data sent from web sites to web browsers, which contains various information used to identify users, or store any information related to that particular website. HTTPS Cookie Injection Vulnerability Whenever a website ( you have visited ) wants to set a cookie in your browser, it passes a header named “ Set-Cookie ” with the parameter name, its value and some options, including cookie expiration time and domain name ( for which it is valid ). It is also important to note that HTTP
HTML5 Canvas Fingerprint — Widely Used Unstoppable Web Tracking Technology

HTML5 Canvas Fingerprint — Widely Used Unstoppable Web Tracking Technology

July 23, 2014Mohit Kumar
Till Now we have seen many traditional way of tracking web users, such as using cookies that get saved on user’s system may not be available forever to many companies, but a new method of tracking users has emerged that worked without the use of cookies. From last two years, many websites and tracking softwares are utilizing the fingerprinting power of HTML5 Canvas, which is a HTML element used to dynamically generated image in your browser’s web page. EACH BROWSER GENERATES DIFFERENT IMAGE Basically, web browsers uses different image processing engines, export options, compression level, so each computer draws the image slightly differently, the images can be used to assign each user’s device a number (a fingerprint) that uniquely identifies it i.e. Browser fingerprinting . According to a research paper published by computer security experts from Princeton University and KU Leuven University in Belgium, the Canvas fingerprint tracking has made it more difficult for
Google Chrome to encrypt Stored Cookies by default to enhance browser security

Google Chrome to encrypt Stored Cookies by default to enhance browser security

January 09, 2014Mohit Kumar
When you visit a website, it stores some information on your system through a web browser for later use i.e. Login information, so you do not have to re-login to your website every time you visit the same website on the same browser. Cookies are usually stored as plain text or in the database by the browser and if a computer is accessed by multiple people, one person might scan another’s cookie folder and look for things like passwords or long-life session IDs. If an attacker has the physical access to your system, can steal all your cookies easily to hijack accounts. There are many tools available on the Internet that can make it quicker and easier for an attacker to export all your cookies from the browser. The Google Chrome web browser also saves cookies to a SQLite database file in the user's data folder. One can import that file to SQL Editor software to read all cookies in plain text format. Google's open source project Chromium browser now have a new feature that en
NSA using Browser Cookies to track Tor Users

NSA using Browser Cookies to track Tor Users

October 05, 2013Mohit Kumar
Yesterday a new classified NSA document was leaked by Edward Snowden - titled ‘ Tor Stinks ’ in which ideas were being kicked around for identifying Tor users or degrading the user experience to dissuade people from using the Tor browser. The NSA had a very hard time while tracking down all Tor  users and monitoring their traffic, especially since Tor servers are all over the world, but they make tracking easier by adopting  the following techniques: By running their own hostile Tor nodes Using zero-day vulnerability of Firefox browser By tracking user' browser Cookies Tor access node tracking is not new and the Document says that both the NSA and GCHQ run Tor nodes themselves. In order to trace traffic back to a particular Tor user the NSA needs to know the ‘ entry, relay and exit ’ nodes in the anonymizer cloud between the user and the destination website. So for tracking purpose they used self-hosted nodes, that is able to trace a very small number of To
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