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  1. Microsoft's Windows 11 has a lot of changes when it comes to the overall UI and the feel of it, in comparison to Windows 10. While some changes are probably welcomed by users and Microsoft's partners, others, perhaps, not so much. Among the latter is the redesigned Default apps selection in Windows 11 for web browsers and rivals of Edge like Chrome, Opera, Firefox, and Vivaldi are apparently not too happy with how it is presently. The process to set a Default apps choice in the new OS could be a tedious one for some as you'd have to choose the default app for different file types separately. Furthermore, you'd also be asked via a prompt to reconsider your decision if switching away from Edge. Apparently, this is how Default apps works in most of the popular browsers in Windows 11 except Mozilla Firefox. That is not all as Windows 11 widgets are said to ignore the set Default apps choices entirely and launch Edge instead. Here's what a Brave spokesperson has said in a statement to The Verge regarding this: It appears that Windows 11 widgets will ignore a user’s default browser choice and open Microsoft Edge for the content instead, Brave puts users first and we condemn this Windows 11 approach, because the choice of a default browser has many implications for individuals and their privacy. Users should be free to choose. Firefox, Vivaldi, and Opera have also responded to The Verge as they too appear annoyed at how Default apps settings for browsers currently function. Their statements are given below. Selena Deckelmann, SVP at Firefox: We have been increasingly worried about the trend on Windows, Since Windows 10, users have had to take additional and unnecessary steps to set and retain their default browser settings. These barriers are confusing at best and seem designed to undermine a user’s choice for a non-Microsoft browser. Opera EVP, Krystian Kolondra: It’s very unfortunate when a platform vendor is obscurifying a common use case to improve the standing of their own product, We would like to encourage all platform vendors to respect user choice and allow competition on their platforms. Taking away user choice is a step backwards. Vivaldi: Microsoft has a history of doing this, and it seems they are getting progressively worse, With every new version of Windows, it is getting harder [to change defaults]. They understand that the only way they can get people to use their browsers is to lock them in. Google Chrome SVP, Hiroshi Lockheimer, on Twitter: This from the company that claims to be the most open, with "the most choice." I hope this is just a developer preview thing, and the shipping version of Windows 11 lives up to their claims. This is far from "choice." So far, Microsoft hasn't put out any statement in response to this criticism. It is possible that the change is only experimentation in the preview builds as Lockheimer mentions, perhaps to gauge the reaction and feedback of its rivals and users. Or it could be something permanent. Source and image: The Verge Windows 11 Default apps settings for browsers is facing backlash from rivals
  2. New research shows users are willing to switch browsers for better privacy Privacy is becoming an increasing concern for internet users worldwide and new research from eyeo and Opera has revealed that 83 percent of users would consider switching to a different browser if it offered improved privacy protection. To compile their new research, the German ad-filtering company and the maker of the Opera browser surveyed 2,500 global internet users to gain a better understanding of their attitudes toward privacy. Surprisingly the survey found that only a quarter (25%) of respondents trust their current browser with their personal information which underlines the need for better trust and transparency. Founder and CEO of eyeo, Till Faida provided further insight on the survey's findings in a press release, saying: “The research shows that internet users have quite a complex relationship with their browsers. They clearly hold them in high regard in many respects and recognise the major benefits they bring to their online experience. At the same time, users are very privacy-conscious, particularly when it comes to intrusive advertising or excessive use of tracking cookies. There’s a better balance to be struck here, where advertising remains a core element of the browsing experience, but is done in a responsible manner that respects user privacy.” Striking the right balance In order to protect their privacy when browsing the web, 50 percent of respondents admitted to using an ad blocker in the last month to prevent ads from being displayed while 64 percent have made a conscious decision to delete tracking cookies. Although more users are now leveraging ad blockers and calling for improved privacy protection, the data from eyeo and Opera's survey shows that many are willing to compromise when advertising is concerned. Of those surveyed, 35 percent acknowledge the valuable role cookies play in the internet ecosystem and 69 percent are happy to see some ads if doing so provides them with access to free news. Faida also explained that most internet users realize that ads are necessary to help maintain a free and accessible internet. By using technologies such as ad filtering, consumers can allow noninvasive ads to appear when browsing while hiding the more annoying ones such as pop-ups or animated ads. Those interested in making the switch to a more privacy-focused browser should check out our complete list of the best anonymous browsers as they allow you to browse the web securely without being tracked online. Privacy is now the most important factor when picking a browser
  3. The teams behind the Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge browsers have banded together to improve extensions, the add-ons you can download to customize the software. That should mean your extensions will work better and come with a better security foundation to protect you from malware. On Friday, the teams unveiled a discussion and development forum at the World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C, dedicated to developing standards for extensions. The forum, the WebExtensions Community Group, gives engineers a place to build a unified and more secure core foundation for extensions. The group also hopes to make it easier for developers to write extensions because a shared standard will help bridge differences between browsers. "We aim to identify common ground, bring [browsers] into closer alignment, and chart a course for future evolution," community group members said of their goals. There's not yet a public timeline for publishing a draft of the standard or building it into browsers. Source : https://www.cnet.com/news/chrome-safari-firefox-and-edge-join-forces-to-improve-browser-extensions/
  4. New browser-tracking hack works even when you flush caches or go incognito At least 4 top browsers affected by "powerful tracking vector," researchers say. Enlarge Getty Images The prospect of Web users being tracked by the sites they visit has prompted several countermeasures over the years, including using Privacy Badger or an alternate anti-tracking extension, enabling private or incognito browsing sessions, or clearing cookies. Now, websites have a new way to defeat all three. The technique leverages the use of favicons, the tiny icons that websites display in users’ browser tabs and bookmark lists. Researchers from the University of Illinois, Chicago said in a new paper that most browsers cache the images in a location that’s separate from the ones used to store site data, browsing history, and cookies. Websites can abuse this arrangement by loading a series of favicons on visitors’ browsers that uniquely identify them over an extended period of time. Powerful tracking vector “Overall, while favicons have long been considered a simple decorative resource supported by browsers to facilitate websites’ branding, our research demonstrates that they introduce a powerful tracking vector that poses a significant privacy threat to users,” the researchers wrote. They continued: The attack workflow can be easily implemented by any website, without the need for user interaction or consent, and works even when popular anti-tracking extensions are deployed. To make matters worse, the idiosyncratic caching behavior of modern browsers, lends a particularly egregious property to our attack as resources in the favicon cache are used even when browsing in incognito mode due to improper isolation practices in all major browsers. The attack works against Chrome, Safari, Edge, and until recently Brave, which developed an effective countermeasure after receiving a private report from the researchers. Firefox would also be susceptible to the technique, but a bug prevents the attack from working at the moment. Favicons provide users with a small icon that can be unique for each domain or subdomain on the Internet. Websites use them to help users more easily identify the pages that are currently open in browser tabs or are stored in lists of bookmarks. Browsers save the icons in a cache so they don't have to request them over and over. This cache isn't emptied when users clear their browser cache or cookies, or when they switch to a private browsing mode. A website can exploit this behavior by storing a specific combination of favicons when users first visit it, and then checking for those images when users revisit the site, thus allowing the website to identify the browser even when users have taken active measures to prevent tracking. Browser tracking has been a concern since the advent of the World Wide Web in the 1990s. Once it became easy for users to clear browser cookies, websites devised other ways to identify visitors’ browsers. One of those methods is known as device fingerprinting, a process that collects the screen size, list of available fonts, software versions, and other properties of the visitor's computer to create a profile that is often unique to that machine. A 2013 study found that 1.5 percent of the world’s most popular sites employed the technique. Device fingerprinting can work even when people use multiple browsers. In response, some browsers have attempted to curb the tracking by blocking fingerprinting scripts. Two seconds is all it takes Websites can exploit the new favicon side channel by sending visitors through a series of subdomains—each with its own favicon—before delivering them to the page they requested. The number of redirections required varies depending on the number of unique visitors a site has. To be able to track 4.5 billion unique browsers, a website would need 32 redirections, since each redirection translates to 1 bit of entropy. That would add about 2 seconds to the time it takes for the final page to load. With tweaks, websites can reduce the delay. The paper explains it this way: By leveraging all these properties, we demonstrate a novel persistent tracking mechanism that allows websites to reidentify users across visits even if they are in incognito mode or have cleared client-side browser data. Specifically, websites can create and store a unique browser identifier through a unique combination of entries in the favicon cache. To be more precise, this tracking can be easily performed by any website by redirecting the user accordingly through a series of subdomains. These subdomains serve different favicons and, thus, create their own entries in the Favicon-Cache. Accordingly, a set of N-subdomains can be used to create an N-bit identifier, that is unique for each browser. Since the attacker controls the website, they can force the browser to visit subdomains without any user interaction. In essence, the presence of the favicon for subdomain in the cache corresponds to a value of 1 for the i-th bit of the identifier, while the absence denotes a value of 0. The researchers behind the findings are: Konstantinos Solomos, John Kristoff, Chris Kanich, and Jason Polakis, all of the University of Illinois, Chicago. They will be presenting their research next week at the NDSS Symposium. A Google spokesman said the company is aware of the research and is working on a fix. An Apple representative, meanwhile, said the company is looking into the findings. Ars also contacted Microsoft and Brave, and neither had an immediate comment for this post. As noted above, the researchers said Brave has introduced a countermeasure that prevents the technique from being effective, and other browser makers said they were working on fixes. Until fixes are available, people who want to protect themselves should investigate the effectiveness of disabling the use of favicons. Searches here, here, and here list steps for Chrome, Safari, and Edge respectively. New browser-tracking hack works even when you flush caches or go incognito
  5. Microsoft issues warning about malware campaign infecting Chrome, Edge, and Firefox Cyberattacks have become rampant over the past few months, especially now that people are relying mostly on digital services in light of the ongoing pandemic. Now, Microsoft has shared details about a new malware campaign targeting major browsers such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Yandex, and Mozilla Firefox. The "Adrozek" family of browser modifiers has been active since May 2020, injecting advertisements into search results. These malware-inserted ads lead users to other webpages which pay the attackers by amount of traffic received on their website via Adrozek. Microsoft noted that in August 2020, over 30,000 devices were infected by the malware. While this type of attack is not new, Adrozek is comparatively sophisticated because it persists in the machine, and can steal credentials as well. Although malware attacks by this family have been noted across the globe, they have focused very strongly on Europe, South Asia, Southeast Asia so far. Microsoft has highlighted that Adrozek is distributed via drive-by downloads from 159 domains hosting hundreds of thousands of unique URLs. Using polymorphism, these spread unique malware samples which are difficult to detect. Furthermore, the domain infrastructure is very dynamic with some domains being shut down within days with others staying up for months. The Redmond tech giant has described Adrozek's attack chain and methodology as follows: As can be seen in the diagram above, the installer from the domain puts a second .exe installer in the %temp% folder. This second installer is then responsible for dropping the main payload under various file names in the Program Files folder. After Adrozek is installed, it starts making modifications to browser components. This involves making changes to the browser extensions, such as the default "Chrome Media Router" extension in Chrome's case. While the attack pattern on each browser is different, the aim is the same, that is, to use the IDs of reliable extensions and behave as if they are legitimate. Adrozek installs malware on these extensions, which then procure additional malicious scripts by sending requests to the attacker's server. Apart from requesting these scripts which inject ads, it also sends information about the infected device to the server. Another portion of the attack chain includes modifying browser DLLs across all browsers, turning off some important security controls. For those unaware, the Preferences and Secure Preferences files are used for security settings by browsers and any unauthorized attempts to this are blocked using integrity checks. Adrozek bypasses this by modifying the function that does the integrity check on these files, nullifying it altogether. The malware is then free to modify security settings without the user being made aware and even turns off automatic updates. In order to ensure persistence, Adrozek does the following, as described by Microsoft: In addition to modifying browser setting and components, Adrozek also changes several systems settings to have even more control of the compromised device. It stores its configuration parameters at the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\. The ‘tag’ and ‘did’ entries contain the command-line arguments that it uses to launch the main payload. More recent variants of Adrozek use random characters instead of ‘tag’ or ‘did’. To maintain persistence, the malware creates a service named “Main Service”. With all this done, the malware is free to inject relevant ads into search results and get paid by affiliate websites. Microsoft has noted that while none of these ads have pointed to other malicious websites, this situation can easily change at the whim of the attacker. While this is all when it comes to Chrome, Edge, and Yandex, Adrozek does launch another attack via Firefox in order to steal credentials. It does this by finding the login.json file in the Firefox directory. This file contains encrypted passwords, usernames, and browser history. The malware decrypts them using the built-in function in Firefox' library and also sends them over to the attacker's server. This technique is not common in other browser modifiers and makes Adrozek particularly dangerous. Microsoft has highlighted that while the main purpose of this malware family so far has been to insert ads into search results, given the control it manages to establish over a machine as part of its sophisticated attack chain, this can change anytime and become even more dangerous. This is apparent from the credential theft activity Adrozek already carries out on Firefox. While Microsoft Defender now detects and blocks Adrozek using machine learning capabilities, the company has stated that victims of the attack should reinstall their browsers and educate themselves about the dangers of downloading from untrusted websites. Microsoft has also encouraged users to utilize solutions such as URL filtering offered by SmartScreen on the Edge browser. Meanwhile, organizations have been recommended to only allow authorized apps and services by making use of enterprise-grade solutions available on Microsoft Edge. Microsoft issues warning about malware campaign infecting Chrome, Edge, and Firefox
  6. Top web browsers 2020: Chrome snaps up more share, new Edge again gains ground Google's Chrome browser edged toward the 70% mark in user share in May. No one else in the browser wars is close. Thinkstock Chrome's share reached a record high in May, the fifth straight month of gains, a run the browser last enjoyed three years ago. According to data published Monday by California metrics vendor Net Applications, Chrome's share in May climbed six-tenths of a percentage point to 69.8%. The browser has been on a run of late, with the previous five months – January to May – putting 3.2 points on Chrome's ledger. The only other browser to post gains during that stretch – Safari – added a mere two-tenths of a point. To put Chrome's position into perspective, no browser has had more than Chrome's current share since December 2008, when Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) held more than 70% even as it was trending down, under assault from Mozilla's Firefox. (That month, Chrome, which had debuted only months before, accounted for a tiny 1.4% of all browser share.) May's addition changed Chrome's 12-month forecast, which now predicts the browser will reach 70% this month (June) but will need until December to make 71%. If Chrome breaks the 70% bar, it will become only the third browser to do so, following Netscape Navigator (an ancestor of Firefox) and IE. It's unclear how much headroom Chrome has – it seems very unlikely that it can duplicate IE's crushing dominance of, say, 2005, when that browser had close to a 90% share – but it almost certainly can squeeze a few more points out of the competition. IE has points to give up, not many but at least a couple, while Firefox could easily continue its ruinous slide and slough another two or three percentage points. As Computerworld has said before, the only threat to Chrome in the near term will be Microsoft's Edge, the Chrome clone. Firefox hangs in there For a second straight month, Firefox held onto its share; the browser ended May with 7.2%, losing a statistically insignificant two-hundredths of a point. May was also the third consecutive month that Firefox sat behind Edge after losing its second-place status in March; the gap between the two grew to six-tenths of a point, an increase, like the month prior, of one-tenth of a percentage point. Unless Edge stumbles badly, it looks like it now has solid lock on second place. Although Firefox remained flat, Computerworld's new forecast – based on the browser's 12-month average – continued to anticipate a future decline. By that prognosis, Firefox will slide below 7% in July and end the year at 5.9%. That dismal prediction may not come true, of course; in fact, Firefox's losses over the past six months has been just 40% of that over the last 12, hinting that its decline has slowed. Mozilla has to be scratching its head, wondering what it has to do to get users on board. In many ways, it's been the force behind browsers' emphasis on user privacy, a movement nearly all have gotten behind. Yet it struggles to keep what audience it has, much less grow that. Edge's gains make case for Chromiumization Microsoft's two browsers – the reworked Edge and run-down IE – combined forces to lose seven-tenths of a percentage point in May, posting a share of 12.5% at its end. All of that was due to IE, as Edge added a tenth of a point to its total in May, reaching 7.9%, a record for the just-overhauled browser. Meanwhile, IE surrendered eight-tenths of a percentage point, the most since January, to drag its share to 4.6%, the first time that browser has dipped under the 5% mark in the 15 years for which Computerworld has records of Net Applications' numbers. While IE's current share of under 5% may be an undercount – Computerworld remains convinced that metrics vendors like Net Applications have little insight into enterprises, where a single IP external address may mask many internal IP addresses – it's difficult to know just exactly where the ancient browser stands. It's clear Microsoft believes it important enough to cater to – seen in the IE mode baked into the Chromium-based Edge – but whether that's because of popularity inside corporations or just the power of some few very important customers cannot be judged from outside Redmond. Computerworld's latest forecast has IE's share evaporating to 1.5% in less than a year, which seems unlikely at first glance. Yet the browser, for all its agelessness, will vanish at some point. Edge's May was the six straight month of increases, and with 1.95 points added to it during that time, its largest gain since the first half of 2016 when the browser was nearly brand new. From the limited data available – since the end of January, Edge climbed by a less-than-stellar eight-tenths of a point – it appears that the "Chromiumization" of Edge has, at the least, legitimized that browser (where before it was little more than laughingstock). At its current 12-month average growth rate, Edge would be in double digits – specifically, approximately 10.3% – by this time next year. It would be a mistake to see that as small potatoes, since no browser other than Chrome currently can boast of a double-digit share. Elsewhere in Net Applications' data, both Apple's Safari and Opera software's Opera remained flat, ending May at 3.9% and 1.1%, respectively. Net Applications calculates share by detecting the agent strings of the browsers used to reach the websites of Net Applications' clients. The firm counts visitor sessions to measure browser activity. Top web browsers 2020: Chrome snaps up more share, new Edge again gains ground
  7. Top web browsers 2020: Firefox sheds share, falls behind Edge It was bad news again for Firefox in March, as Mozilla's browser shed users at a pace that left it falling behind Microsoft's Edge. Thinkstock Firefox last month continued a march toward ruin, falling twice its average loss over the past year and losing its place as the world's second-most-used browser. According to data posted today by analytics company Net Applications, Firefox's share in March slumped to 7.2%, down four-tenths of a percentage point. It was the fifth month in the last six in which the browser shed users - and much more importantly - a record low since Firefox climbed out of obscurity to threaten Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) 15 years ago. This record was the second in a row for Firefox, after February's debut below the 2016 slump that previously marked the browser's trough. Two do not a dataset make, but if a legitimate trend develops with, say, another month or two of declines, Mozilla will be, to say the least, in deep trouble. Notably, Firefox's fall meant it ceded second place to Microsoft's Edge. Although Mozilla's browser had handed second place to Chrome in March 2014 as the latter climbed ahead in the race against the still-dominant IE, Firefox resumed the silver spot in December 2018 when Microsoft's browser lost it for good. Computerworld again has had to adjust its forecast based on the latest losses. A month ago, that prediction - based on Firefox's 12-month average - signaled the browser would fall under 7% in June; now, that mark should be reached in the first few days of May. By year's end, Firefox's share could be as low as 5.6%. Now No. 2, Edge Microsoft's browsers - IE and Edge - lost three-tenths of a percentage point in March to end at 13.5%. But as has been the case recently, the Redmond, Wash. company's two browsers forged different paths, with Edge rising and IE falling. IE shed half a percentage point last month, plunging to 5.9%, while Edge added two-tenths of a point, climbing to 7.6%, another record high for the five-year-old browser. Edge's increase was the fourth consecutive, matching the longest stretch yet of that browser's gains. In the last two months, Edge has added nearly six-tenths of a percentage point to its total, which represented a growth rate of 8%. That two-month span was not randomly selected; February and March were the first two complete months after Microsoft released a stable, polished version of the revamped Edge - built atop Chromium code, the same that powers Chrome - on Jan. 15. Yet the cause of that increase remains unknown. It may be that Microsoft's decision to clone Chrome is behind the increase, but it is far from certain. More data is needed. There was a positive-for-Microsoft signal, however. March's percentage of Windows 10 PCs running Edge - assuming that Edge on Windows 7 and macOS has added little to the total - was 13.2%, tying the record previously set by the browser several times since its introduction. The growth on Windows 10 may be from the beginnings of Microsoft's automatic swap of old-Edge for new-Edge, even though the firm promised it would not make the latter the default on systems where it wasn't already set so. IE's downturn, meanwhile, was also a positive for anyone rooting for Windows. The browser - in this case IE11, last of its kind - is on what appears to be its deathbed, now under 6% and by all rights should slide under 5% by the end of July. Getting rid of IE - along with its ancient technologies and security vulnerabilities - will be a win for everyone, even if that means shifting legacy labors from that browser to the IE mode inside Edge. Chrome jumps, again Chrome leaped 1.2 percentage points last month - the most since September - to reach 68.5%, the highest mark since July, when the browser peaked at a tenth of a point higher. The increase improved Chrome's 12-month forecast, putting the browser on a slow river of growth: The prediction now pegs Chrome at around 69% by the end of this year. Computerworld wouldn't be surprised if that didn't pan out, however, as the two times Chrome crested 68%, both because of 1.2-point or larger increases, it immediately slumped, albeit not by as much, the month following. Elsewhere, Apple's Safari slipped three-tenths of a point to 3.6%, and Opera Software's Opera remained flat at 1.1%. Safari's impressive growth of last year, estimates that were flawed because Net Applications counted iPads running iPadOS 13 as macOS devices, was erased from the record when the metrics vendor revised several months of data. By March, Safari had settled into a dead tie with its year-ago number. All the fuss, then, had been for naught. Net Applications calculates share by detecting the agent strings of the browsers used to reach the websites of Net Applications' clients. The firm counts visitor sessions to measure browser activity. Have work-at-home, stay-at-home orders impacted the browser shares? To answer that question: Who knows at the moment? But the general drift of the browser shares does hint at an affirmative. The downturn in Firefox's fate, for example, makes sense, as it's the least likely of the top three - Chrome, Edge and Firefox - to be favored by IT. Sent home to work with company devices or told after that to download the preferred browser to their personal PCs to, say, access corporate assets, Firefox may have been replaced in many instances, if only temporarily, by Chrome or Edge. Meanwhile, Chrome, and to a lesser extent Edge, might have received usage boosts based on the same conceit, that commercially-approved browsers - and both those would certainly apply - would benefit from a mass work-at-home order as has happened in large swaths of the U.S. and elsewhere. An April of continued gains by Chrome and Edge - and a concurrent loss by Firefox - might confirm the theory, since few companies, at least in the U.S. asked employees to work at home all that month. (Microsoft and Google, for example, ordered theirs home in the first week of March.) If the COVID-19 pandemic did spark a browser usage shift, will that become permanent? Too soon to know. Source: Top web browsers 2020: Firefox sheds share, falls behind Edge (Computerworld - Gregg Keizer)
  8. Top web browsers 2020: Firefox sinks to share unseen since 2005 It was not good news for Firefox in February, as Mozilla's browser lost users at a pace that left it at its lowest level of market share in 15 years. Thinkstock Firefox took a significant turn for the worse last month, falling three times its average share loss over the past year and dropping to a level not seen since 2005. According to data published Sunday by web metrics vendor Net Applications, Firefox's share in February sank to 7.6%, down six-tenths of a percentage point. It was the eighth month in the last 12 in which Firefox spilled users and the third largest downturn during that stretch. The last time Firefox recorded a share that low was in September 2005, when it also posted a 7.6% marker. At the time, Firefox was still chipping away at Internet Explorer (IE), Microsoft's then-keystone of browsers, as it slowly grew to become a legitimate threat to Redmond. IE accounted for an astounding 86.8% of global share in September 2005. Firefox's decline erased nearly 7% of the browser's position at the start of the month. To put that into context, Firefox's slide was equivalent to Google Chrome's losing 4.5 percentage points since Feb. 1. The plummet upended Computerworld's forecast, which relied on Firefox's 12-month average. A month ago, that prediction pointed to a June share of 7.7%. Not only did Firefox lose all that, and more, in just a month but according to the revised forecast, June now looks to be when the browser slips under 7%. By year's end, Firefox could be as low as 6% unless something clots the bleeding. The stress of these share losses was recently revealed, as Mozilla posted a revenue-expense imbalance in 2018 and a little later laid off 70 people. It's possible things will become even bleaker at Mozilla. Getting Edgy? Microsoft's two browsers - IE and the revamped-with-Chromium-Edge - added two-tenths of a percentage point in February, a slight rebound from the triple-that decline of the month before. IE+Edge ended last month at 13.8%. The increase, such as it was, came solely from Edge: IE spilled two-tenths of a point, sliding to 6.4% while Edge put four-tenths more on its tally, climbing to 7.4%. That's as it should be, the old out and the new in. Edge's increase put it at a record level, something that's occurred monthly for the past three quarters. But it's still impossible to say with certainty that Microsoft's decision to abandon its own Edge technologies and replace them with those from Chromium has been behind the gradual increase. It is looking increasingly likely, however. February's percentage of Windows 10 PCs running Edge - assuming that Edge on Windows 7 and macOS contributions has been negligible - was 12.9%, above the 12-month-prior median by a full point. Meanwhile, IE's share was at its lowest since September, when it took a temporary dip. Forecasting Edge's future will be difficult until it establishes a clearer trend, which may not happen until Windows 10's growth slows. (Up to Jan. 15, when Chromium Edge officially launched, Microsoft's newer browser was Windows 10-only; it almost certainly will remain Windows 10-dominant.) Microsoft has promised that it will not make the new Edge the default browser on systems where it wasn't already so set. That means the company's plan to replace the original Edge with the Chromium-based Edge shouldn't artificially boost the browser's numbers. Staying Chromey Chrome added three-tenths of a percentage point last month - the same as in January - to end at 67.3%, its highest mark since October. The increase left Chrome short of its 2019 peak - 68.6% in July - and improved the 12-month forecast by putting Google's browser back on a growth road, albeit a very slow road. (The forecast had Chrome staying within 67% through year's end, even past the midway point of 2021.) In plainer terms, Chrome will continue to play the browser gorilla. Unless Microsoft pulls some unknown-as-yet rabbit from its Edge hat, Chrome will remain untouched by rivals for the near-to-mid-range future. Elsewhere, Apple's Safari slumped four-tenths of a percentage point to 3.9%, while Opera Software's namesake dropped two-tenths of a point, falling to 1.2%. Safari's once impressive growth by Net Applications' account - spurred by mistakenly tallying iPads running iPadOS 13 as macOS devices - was reined in last month when the analytics company revised several months of past data. In February, Safari did stay above the same month's 2019 level, though (but by just two-tenths of a point). Net Applications calculates share by detecting the agent strings of the browsers used to reach the websites of Net Applications' clients. The firm counts visitor sessions to measure browser activity. Source: Top web browsers 2020: Firefox sinks to share unseen since 2005 (Computerworld - Gregg Keizer)
  9. BrowserDownloadsView: manage downloads in all desktop browsers BrowserDownloadsView is a new portable software program by Nirsoft (one of our favorite developers). The program, like many programs by Nirsoft, provides a list view of data; in this case, it retrieves data from supported desktop browsers to display a list of downloaded files. What makes it interesting is the fact that it supports multiple desktop browsers and that the data is merged so that you end up with a single list of downloaded files. While that is only of interest to users who use multiple desktop browsers that are supported, it may also be useful as an independent tool to display downloads of a single browser thanks to its sorting and data exporting options. BrowserDownloadsView BrowserDownloadsView can be run on any Windows device that runs Windows XP or higher. It supports 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems and a good assortment of desktop browsers including Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, and the majority of Chromium-based browsers including Vivaldi, Opera, and the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge. The application can be run from any location. When you do, it retrieves data from browsers that it finds installed on the device; the process may take a moment to complete depending on the number of downloads and browsers. The list is sorted in chronological order from most recent to oldest by default. A click on a column header sorts the data accordingly. As far as what is displayed is concerned, BrowserDownloadsView lists filenames, download URLs and web page URLs, the size and time it took to download, the location it was saved to on the system, MIME type, and the browser profile that was used by default. Sorting was instant during tests with a medium-sized number of downloads (1314 to be precise). If you are looking for a particular download, you may use the search functionality to do so. The program does not offer many options to interact with the data. You may calculate hashes of one or multiple downloads using the File menu or right-click context menu. The program supports MD5/SHA1/SHA256/SHA512 hashes. Note that some of the downloads may not be available anymore; this is the case if the downloaded files were moved, renamed, or deleted. The context menu displays a number of additional options. You may use it to open the download URL or web page in the default web browser, open the file on VirusTotal, run the file with the default handler or another program, or open the folder it is stored in. You may also copy the data or use the built-in export option to save a selection or everything to a file. The usual file types, JSON, text files, XML, HTML, or tab/comma delimited text files are supported. Closing Words BrowserDownloadsView is an excellent program to analyze downloads on a Windows device. While it does not cover downloads made by download managers or external programs, and does not support deleting records, it proves useful when it comes to the analysis and finding downloads on the machine. Source: BrowserDownloadsView: manage downloads in all desktop browsers (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  10. dabourzannan

    Chromium Browser

    I'm trying to use Chromium, as Google Chrome is getting more aggressive with data collection. The issue here is that I can not play any videos even after trying the following: Clearing all browsing data and relunching. Allow Flash player. Uncheck "use hardware acceleration". Downloading and installing Adobe Flash. I'm out of solutions and would appreciate any help.
  11. Top web browsers 2019: No end in sight for Firefox's losses Mozilla's efforts to make Firefox more attractive as a web browser have failed to move the share needle. Meanwhile, Google's Chrome continues its dominance. Thinkstock If Firefox were a ship, it would be becalmed on a flat sea, loosened seams leaking faster than the hand-worked pumps can empty the bilge, passengers springing overboard and swimming toward other vessels - those with sails bearing rivals' logos. According to data published Sunday by analytics company Net Applications, Firefox's share for November slumped to 8.2%, down half a percentage point. It was the seventh month in the last 12 in which Firefox spilled share, the fifth where the loss amounted to a half point or more. From 2005, when Firefox was scratching its way out of the single digits in an insurrection against Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE), the browser has posted lower shares only three times, all in a short stretch of 2016 when Firefox bottomed out at 7.7%. That time, the browser clawed back to 13% (in October 2017) before again shrinking. Unless something suddenly stems Firefox's current free-fall, the browser will return to that low point of 7.7% by June, according to Computerworld's forecast, which relies on Firefox's 12-month average. That same forecast predicts the open-source browser will dip under 8% as early as January. Mozilla's efforts to make Firefox more attractive as a browser choice have failed to move the share needle. From its November 2017 "Quantum" relaunch to its recent emphasis on the hottest browser topic - privacy in general, blocking ad and site trackers more specifically - the improvements and enhancements have been accompanied by collective shrug. Or worse, a step toward the exit. Historically, Firefox has been the counterweight to the then-current leader, first IE, then Google's Chrome. Firefox's flirtation with irrelevancy as exhibited by its smaller user share may see that counterweight go weightless. Microsoft's decision to adopt Google's browser technology for its reborn Edge strengthened the monoculture. Sans Firefox, the browser choice becomes Chrome or near-Chrome. Chrome: Settling into its spot? During November, Chrome lost a quarter of a percentage point, dipping to 67.2%, the browser's lowest mark since June. While the loss was little more than a rounding error and could not be considered a threat to Chrome's dominance by any stretch, Google's browser may be close to its upper-end limit. Last month's share was identical to Chrome's number at the start of the year, for one, so for all the wild swings -- up 2.3 points one month, down 1.7 points the next -- it ended where it began. And although Chrome shed three-quarters of a percentage point in the past six months, in the last three the movements were a wash, hinting that changes to share have slowed. The forecast based on the 12-month average foretold some gains -- Chrome should make the 68% mark by June -- but the prophesied increase was significantly less than a month ago, when the prediction contended Chrome would hit 70% by mid-2020. IE edges Edge Microsoft's browsers recovered three-tenths of a percentage point in November, the second straight month of share gains (and only the fourth time that's happened in the last five years). IE+Edge ended November at 12.8%. That total was tallied of two browsers, IE and Edge, with the increase credited entirely to the ancient and obsolete IE, not the at-least-newer Edge: IE climbed four-tenths of a point to 6.8% while Edge fell a tenth to 6%. Because Windows 10's share of all operating systems also declined, Edge remained with an 11.2% share of all Windows 10 browser activity, the level it's been stuck at for a full quarter. Measuring Edge against Windows 10 will soon be impossible, as the revamped browser -- Microsoft tossed its own technologies and built a new Edge from Google's Chromium - will reach release status Jan. 15, launching for Windows 7 and 8.1 as well as 10, not to mention macOS. Whether Edge's remodel will result in a jolt to its user share is unknown. Microsoft is, if not counting on Edge's phoenix-rising, eager to put a thumb on the scale to boost the chances; it will automatically replace the original homegrown Edge with the Chromium-based version rather than wait as users do what they do best, stick with the status quo. Edge may never gain much ground in Net Applications' measurements. The California metrics vendor best quantifies individuals' browsing activity, and while Microsoft wouldn't object if that group dumped Chrome for a Chrome clone, there's good evidence that the retuned Edge is a corporate play. Elsewhere in Net Applications' numbers, Apple's Safari gained half a percentage point for the fourth consecutive month, climbing to 5.3%, and Opera Software's browser remained flat at 1.3%. Safari's increase came as macOS climbed six-tenths of a percentage point to 11.6%, a record for Apple's operating system. For November, Safari's share of macOS rose to 45.6%, the highest mark since December 2017, showing that it is possible for a browser to convince customers to ditch Chrome for a browser they'd used before. Net Applications calculates user share by detecting the agent strings of the browsers that render the websites of Net Applications' clients. The firm tallies visitor sessions to measure browser user activity. Source: Top web browsers 2019: No end in sight for Firefox's losses (Computerworld - Gregg Keizer)
  12. Mozilla has been heavily invested in WebAssembly with Firefox, and today, the organization teamed up with a few others to form the new Bytecode Alliance, which aims to create "new software foundations, building on standards such as WebAssembly and WebAssembly System Interface (WASI)". Mozilla has teamed up with Intel, Red Hat, and Fastly to found the alliance, but more members are likely to join over time. The goal of the Bytecode Alliance is to create a new runtime environment and language toolchains which are secure, efficient, and modular, while also being available on as many platforms and devices as possible. The technologies being developed by the Bytecode Alliance are based on WebAssembly and WASI, which have been seen as a potential replacement for JavaScript due to more efficient code compiling, and the expanded capabilities of being able to port C and C++ code to the web. To kick things off, the founding members have already contributed a number of open-source technologies to the Bytecode Alliance, including Wasmtime, a lightweight WebAssembly runtime; Lucet, an ahead-of-time compiler; WebAssembly Micro Runtime; and Cranelift. Mozilla's Luke Wagner, who helped create WebAssembly, commented on the formation and prupose of the Bytecode Alliance, expressing hope that the technology will move beyond browsers and offer a new level of security: You can learn more about the Bytecode Alliance here. Source: Mozilla, Intel, and more form the Bytecode Alliance to take WebAssembly beyond browsers (via Neowin)
  13. Where do browsers stand on Flash's impending demise? It's been two years since Adobe announced it would finally kill off its Flash Player; browser makers plan to follow suit on their own timelines. Thinkstock Two years ago, Adobe announced it would finally kill and bury Flash Player, the plug-in that simultaneously launched a million websites and gave security professionals nightmares. The oft-abused technology, equally praised and scorned even when it was at the top of its game, will land in the digital landfill at the end of 2020, when the company said it "will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player." Browser makers quickly chimed in to tell their users how they would sunset Flash, setting up sometimes specific, sometimes vague, timetables for curtailing usage, figuring that going cold turkey would catch site owners unprepared, break the web and turn customers into angry peasants waving torches and pitchforks. Two years after those initial promises of cutting out Flash, where are the browsers? How about a status update? Chrome's this close to turning Flash off by default Starting with Chrome 76, which is the next version slated to ship, Google's browser will disable Flash by default, the state the browser will remain in until all support is yanked in late 2020. With Flash default disabled - Chrome 76 will appear July 30, or in six weeks - sites requiring the plug-in will show the "missing puzzle piece" symbol and the message "Adobe Flash Player is blocked." Users will not be able to run Flash - at all - without going into Settings. Only after re-enabling Flash - Settings->Advanced->Site Settings->Flash->Ask First - will Chrome users be able to run Flash and display Flash content, and then only after their explicit okay. Google is thinking about adding what it called an "infobar" to the top of Chrome with the debut of version 76. If the user manually switches Flash back on through Settings, the infobar will appear, warning that the plug-in won't be supported at all after December 2020. IDG/Gregg Keizer Starting with Chrome 76, users will have to dive into Settings to run Flash after seeing this message on a site. Firefox soon to limit Flash options At this point, Firefox continues to run Flash Player on a per-site basis when a user authorizes the action. And Firefox will remember the site that was authorized if the user checks the box marked "Remember this decision" in the pop-up that appears when giving Flash permission. In early September, Mozilla will take the next step in purging the plug-in. With Firefox 69, scheduled for release Sept. 3, the browser is losing the "Always Activate" option for Flash, meaning that every request to run it must be user approved. From this point forward, the only settings will be "Ask to Activate," the default, and "Never Activate." (Most Firefox users probably didn't know that there was an "Always Activate" setting that let them skip the authorization hassle. It's in Preferences (macOS) and Options (Windows): Extensions & Themes-Plugins->Shockwave Flash->Always Activate.) Still to come for Firefox: Mozilla plans to strip all Flash support from the browser in early 2020. The exception will be Firefox's Extended Support Release (ESR), designed for enterprise settings, which will continue to run the plug-in through 2020. On a related note, Mozilla pointed out that barely half - 50.8% - of all copies of Firefox now have Flash installed. IDG/Gregg Keizer September's Firefox 69 will eliminate the "Always Activate" shortcut, forcing users to approve Flash every time on every site. No exceptions. Edge in turmoil What to say about Microsoft's Edge? Microsoft had a fire-Flash plan two years ago. But then the Redmond, Wash. developer went and decided to bag its version of Edge and instead go full-Chromium, replacing its foundational technology with the same that drives Chrome. While Microsoft didn't necessarily tie itself to Google's Flash timetable when it adopted Chromium, the company is likely to copy the browser big dog. There's no reason not to: "full-Chromium" Edge won't make a difference, one way or the other, to websites still running Flash, not with its very small share. By the time Microsoft has Chromium Edge ready, Chrome will have long put version 76, and its Flash-disabled-by-default behind it. Edge will do the same, whether it launches this year or next. As for Internet Explorer (IE) and the old Edge, in 2017 Microsoft promised that somewhere around mid-to-late 2019, those browsers would default to a disabled Flash state. Users were going to have to manually re-enable Flash in the browsers' settings panels to view content. The change has yet to appear in either browser. (It was unclear when Microsoft would throw the disabled-Flash switch; there was no hint, for example, in the Edge development roadmap.)_ Because Microsoft only upgrades old-Edge when it issues a Windows 10 feature upgrade, the next opportunity for this will be the fall refresh, 1909 in the operating system's yymm notation. Microsoft has hinted that it will retain old-Edge even after full-Chromium Edge ships, so it will have to manage multiple browsers - IE, too, for Windows 10 users and laggards still running Windows 7 - through their Flash end times. IDG/Gregg Keizer The 'old-Edge,' the one powered by Microsoft's own EdgeHTML engine, still lets users run Flash with minimal hassle. But the upcoming 'full-Chromium' Edge will probably mimic Chrome when it debuts. Safari and the no-Flash zone Apple and Flash never much cared for each other. iOS has always been a no-Flash operating system and macOS, formerly OS X, has omitted the Adobe plug-in since 2010, when Cupertino first told users to fetch Flash themselves. (Meanwhile, Chrome, and later, Edge, came with Flash baked in. Chrome dropped that approach in 2016 with version 53. Since then, Flash has been background downloaded the first time the Chrome user calls on it to render content.) "Apple is working with Adobe, industry partners, and developers to complete this transition," a July 2017 post to the WebKit blog asserted. Since then, nothing. Even if a user installs Flash on macOS, Safari still treats it as off by default. And Safari still requires user approval on each site (although the user can tell that site to run Flash every time going forward). In other words, Apple's made no change - and has announced none that it will make - in how Safari deals with Flash. IDG/Gregg Keizer Safari's handling of Flash hasn't changed in the two years since Adobe announced the plug-in's 2020 demise. This is still what users see when they click on content. Source: Where do browsers stand on Flash's impending demise? (Computerworld - Gregg Keizer)
  14. As the company transitions its Edge browser in Windows 10 to one that's Chromium based, it also plans to maintain support for IE11. For IT admins, the variety of browser iterations could get confusing. Microsoft Microsoft will continue to include Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) and the original Edge with Windows 10, according to a company program manager. In a video recorded for this week's Microsoft Build conference, Fred Pullen, a principal program manager on the Edge team, filled in some of the blanks about the "IE mode" to be inserted inside the under-construction Edge based on Chromium. (Chromium is the open-source project whose technologies already power Google Chrome and other browsers.) Details of how enterprises will manage "full-Chromium" Edge and its IE mode have been scant thus far. When Microsoft announced IE mode earlier this week, it said only that it would share "more details on deploying and managing Microsoft Edge later this year." How Edge and IE11 work together now Pullen spent the first quarter of his time walking viewers through the convoluted history of IE and how Microsoft supported backwards compatibility with older versions using various "modes" that emulated, for instance, IE6 within IE8 or IE9 and IE10 within IE11. He then explained how the current Edge worked with IE11 and its multiple modes to produce what he called a "two-browser experience." "Our guidance for years has been as you upgrade your web applications to modern standards, you can ((alleviate)) yourself of the dependency on Internet Explorer," said Pullen. "When we introduced Windows 10, our suggestion to customers was to standardize on Microsoft Edge using EdgeHTML as your modern browser and fall back to IE11 as needed just for backward compatibility." That "fall back to IE11" would be automated by IT. They would create an Enterprise Mode Site List of URLs to apps and sites that required some of those IE compatibility modes, or IE-associated technologies, such as ActiveX, which Edge didn't support. IT could also instruct every intranet site to open in IE11. When a worker tried to access a site on the list in Edge, IE11 opened instead, loading the whitelisted site; thus the two browser experience Pullen described. But there were problems with what Microsoft did, Pullen acknowledged. "This is a jarring experience. It's two different browsers," he said. "Even if you're using the Enterprise Mode Site Lists to automatically pop up the appropriate browser at the appropriate time, it's still two different browsers and it's a confusing user experience." More than one IE11 in Windows 10? According to Pullen, Windows 10 - and presumably Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 as well, since those older OSes are slated to get full-Chromium Edge, too - will still include the stand-alone IE11 browser when Edge and its IE mode reach the Stable channel. "What we're adding in Internet Explorer mode is just a couple of policies," Pulled said. "We have one policy in Microsoft Edge that decides what the default IE integration level is. So you can decide to keep the two-browser experience. You can decide to run IE11 as an application just as you can today with Microsoft Edge." Elsewhere in his presentation, Pullen seemed to preemptively knock down any talk that IE11 - as a separate application - would vanish. "I also want to reassure you that Internet Explorer is not going away," Pullen said near the end of his video. "Internet Explorer is considered a component of the Operating System and follows the life-cycle of the Operating System on which it's installed. So in Windows Server 2019 for example, Internet Explorer 11 is supported until 2029 (emphasis added)." His phrasing was almost word-for-word from Microsoft's documentation on IE's support lifecycle, which states: "Internet Explorer is a component of the Windows operating system and follows the Lifecycle Policy for the product on which it is installed." Even so, Pullen's pledge was far from ironclad. His "support," for example, could easily - and legitimately - hinge on the inside-Edge IE mode, not the stand-alone application. It's all about what he meant by that word. Pullen hinted that IE11 (the application) would remain as part of Windows for some time to come even, though Microsoft's long-term goal is to purge it from the OS. "We want to make sure that we start to restrict when and where and how Internet Explorer 11 is instantiated," he said. Computerworld has assumed that Microsoft would want to get rid of IE11 (the application) as soon as possible. Pullen made that stance difficult to defend. More than one Edge in Windows 10? Windows 10, at least, will also sport more than one Edge browser, Pullen contended. "We do have to add a policy deciding which version of Microsoft Edge you would prefer Internet Explorer to bounce back to," Pullen said, referring to the back-and-forth between the two browsers. "In other words, if I've chosen to launch Internet Explorer 11, and [I'm] using that switch to IE11 app mode, I need to know which version of Microsoft Edge to switch back to. "It could be that in your environment, you're happy with Microsoft Edge on EdgeHTML, and you want to be able to fully test Microsoft Edge on Chromium before deploying, that's fine," Pullen continued. Participants in Microsoft's Edge Insider program - the preview program for the full-Chromium Edge - may run multiple versions of the browser on a device, whether two or more of the previews or one or more preview and the original Edge. (The latter is what Pullen talked about when he mentioned "EdgeHTML," the name of that version's Microsoft-made rendering engine.) It was unclear whether multiple Edges would be available and supported once the full-Chromium version is finalized. Pullen implied that at some point users would no longer see two when he referred to returning to EdgeHTML-based Edge while still testing the full-Chromium Edge. A bit later in the video Pullen doubled down, again limiting Chromium Edge to a preview phase. "You need to decide, 'Is it okay if we choose the Beta version of Microsoft Edge on Chromium, or do I fall back to Microsoft Edge using EdgeHTML if the Beta version is not available?'" Pullen posed. But what's the end game? Two IE11s, two Edges. Is Microsoft really going to let its browsers multiply like rabbits? In the short term, yes. But the long game is to wean users off IE entirely. "We want to give you the tools that you need to be able to limit how and when and where your users get to Internet Explorer, and Internet Explorer Mode is an important step in that journey," Pullen said. "Obviously, as you upgrade your web applications to modern standards, you can continue to limit more and more and more where Internet Explorer is running," he added. The trouble with that message is it's one Microsoft has been transmitting since Windows 10's mid-2015 launch and the early 2016 reduction in browser support that triggered massive desertions from IE's user base. Pullen acknowledged as much. "There's still a need for Internet Explorer even though our guidance for years has been ... ((to alleviate)) yourself of the dependency on Internet Explorer," he said. Source: Coming to Windows 10: More browsers, not fewer (Computerworld - Gregg Keizer)
  15. Newer versions of Chrome, Safari, and Opera will no longer allow you to disable hyperlink auditing, which is a concern for those seeking maximum privacy. While some of these browsers previously allowed you to disable this feature, newer versions are going in the opposite direction. Hyperlink auditing is an HTML standard that can be used to track clicks on web site links. This is done by creating special links that ping back to a specified URL when they are clicked on. These pings are done in the form of a POST request to the specified web page, which can then examine the request headers to see what page the click came from. To create a hyperlink auditing URL, you can simply create a normal hyperlink HTML tag, but also include a ping="" variable as shown below. Example Ping POST Request Ping HTML Link This will render on the page as a normal link to google.com and if you hover over it, will only show you the destination URL. It does not show you the ping back URL of https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/pong.php, so users will not even realize this is happening unless they examine the sites source code. When a user clicks on the above link, the browser will first send a POST request back to the ping URL https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/pong.php as shown below. It will then open the www.google.com page. This means that every time a user clicks on a hyperlink audited link, the browser will make two requests instead of one. Scripts that receive the ping POST request, can then parse the headers in order to see what page the ping came from and where the hyperlink audited link was going to. The headers associated with the information sent in the ping request are shown below. [HTTP_PING_FROM] => https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/ping.html [HTTP_PING_TO] => https://www.google.com/ [CONTENT_TYPE] => text/ping As you can see, using Hyperlink Auditing developers can track link clicks from any web property that they have access to. Most browsers wont let you disable in the future With privacy and online tracking being such a large problem and major concern for many users, you would think that browser developers would give you the option to disable anything that could affect your privacy. Unfortunately, this seems to be going in the reverse direction when it comes to hyperlink auditing. According to developer Jeff Johnson, Safari enabled hyperlink auditing by default, but allowed you to disable it by using the following hidden preference. defaults write com.apple.Safari com.apple.Safari.ContentPageGroupIdentifier.WebKit2HyperlinkAuditingEnabled -bool false Johnson has stated that this flag no longer works with Safari 12.1. "Unfortunately, this no longer works in Safari 12.1. I actually discovered the issue in Safari Technology Preview 72, and I filed a Radar on January 2, 2019 as rdar://problem/47000341," Johnson stated in a blog post. "Despite several months notice from me, Apple shipped Safari 12.1 last week to the public with no way to disable hyperlink auditing. I hope to raise awareness about this issue, with the ultimate goal of getting hyperlink auditing disabled by default in Safari. Apple claims that Safari is supposed to protect your privacy and prevent cross-site tracking, but hyperlink auditing is a wide open door to cross-site tracking that still exists. To end this article, I'll quote the full text of the Radar that I filed:" Chrome 73 Hyperlink Auditing Flag Google Chrome also enables this tracking feature by default, but in the current Chrome 73 version it includes a "Hyperlink auditing" flag that can be used to disable it from the chrome://flags URL. In the Chrome 74 Beta and Chrome 75 Canary builds, though, this flag has been removed and there is no way to disable hyperlink auditing. Firefox and Brave win the award Of all the browsers I tested, only Brave and Firefox currently disable it by default and do not appear to have any plans on enabling it in the future. Firefox 66, Firefox Beta 67, and Firefox Nightly 68 disable Hyperlink auditing by default and allow users to enable it using the browser.send_pings about:config setting. The privacy focused Brave Browser also disables it by default and does not allow you to enable it at all. It does have a display bug in the brave://flags that show that Hyperlink auditing is enabled, but this is a carryover from Chrome and is not displayed correctly. Going forward, if privacy is important to you and you want to reduce the risk of being tracked online, then you will need to use Firefox or Brave. Source
  16. For the second straight month, Mozilla's Firefox gained user share in January. That puts its share back where it was in mid-2018. Mozilla's Firefox wrapped up a two-month resurgence this week, clawing back some previously-lost user share to return to a level last seen in the middle of 2018. The open-source browser remains the only major browser committed to using a rendering engine that is not based on Google's Blink or its predecessor, WebKit. According to web analytics vendor Net Applications, Firefox's share rose by three-tenths of a percentage point in January, reaching 9.9%. The increase was the second consecutive month of user share growth and put Firefox back where it was last June. Firefox's gains were important, as the browser flirted with dangerous territory as recently as November, when it slumped to below 9%. The trend at the time looked nasty; if the declines had continued at the 12-month average pace, Firefox would have fallen below 7% by August 2019. The increases of the last two months have altered that forecast. The 12-month average, if continued, would still erode Firefox's user share, but at a much slower tempo: the browser should remain above 9% throughout this year, falling under that bar only in January 2020. If Mozilla maintains the Firefox user share recovery, its efforts to revitalize the browser - starting with the November 2017 debut of Firefox Quantum - will be validated. What's unclear is whether that work will simply let Firefox survive or if it can trigger a return to a time when the browser was in solid second place (then behind IE) with a quarter of the world's share. The browser maker does have a message that may resonate in 2019: On Windows, it will soon be the only major browser running on non-Google technologies. In December, Microsoft announced that it would abandon its home-grown rendering and JavaScript engines for those built by Chromium, the open-source project led by Google. Mozilla has already used that to argue people should download and try Firefox, and certainly will do so again. Net Applications calculates user share by detecting the agent strings of the browsers people run to reach the websites of Net Applications' clients. The firm tallies the visitor sessions rather than count users, as it once did. In other words, Net Applications' data best illustrates user activity. IE sinks, Edge doesn't Microsoft's browsers - Internet Explorer (IE) and Edge - also gained ground in January, adding approximately two-tenths of a percentage point to put their combined shares at 12.6%. The increase wasn't unprecedented, as the browsers posted in-the-black numbers four out of the 12 months in 2019. One month does not a trend make, however. The increase was solely due to Edge, which rose by half a percentage point to 4.6%, a number that meant about 11% of all Windows 10 users ran the browser in January. The latter figure has been an important metric, as it has showed the enthusiasm (or lack thereof) for the Windows 10-only browser. Plainly put, there has been little to none, although it also has occasionally climbed rather than fallen. Microsoft's decision to go "full-Chromium" with Edge - to effectively give up the fight against Chrome's dominance and join it by crafting a doppelgänger - was a bet that the browser could survive, even grow, under that strategy. The question is whether there will be much of an Edge left by the time Microsoft switches technologies. As a result, January's uptick had to be welcome by Microsoft. On the other hand, IE dropped nearly four-tenths of a percentage point last month, sliding to 7.9%, a record low for the browser that once lorded it over the world - at least the worldwide web - with as much impunity as any of history's monarchs. IE was used on about 9% of all Windows PCs in January, also an all-time low. Microsoft may well applaud the downward spiral of IE, as the browser has been maintained solely for legacy purposes in enterprises. There are, in fact, good arguments to be made that Microsoft will drop IE as soon as it has built "full-Chromium" Edge. Chrome grabs more share...yawn Net Applications pegged Chrome's user share at 67.3% for January, a one-tenth of a percentage point boost. It was the ninth increase in the previous 12 months. Google's browser remained on a steep trend line, with its 12-month average indicating it would crack 68% in March and 70% in July. Each time Chrome takes a pause that could be interpreted as a high-water mark, within a month or two it jumps up again to maintain momentum. Elsewhere, Apple's Safari added three-tenths of a percentage point to its user share, ending January with an even 4%, the browser's highest mark since April 2018. Its portion of all Macs also grew, climbing to 37.8% - or more than two-and-a-half points above December - even though the operating system share of macOS remained above 10.6% for the second straight month. Source: Top web browsers 2019: Firefox scores second straight month of share growth (Computerworld - Gregg Keizer)
  17. A new web security paper via ArXiv has revealed details about a little known TLS tracking technique that companies can use to track users across the web. TLS Tracking Across the Web Most users know that they can be tracked via cookies, which is why some delete them or use their browsers’ own “private modes,” which don’t store session cookies. However, over the past few years, due to browsers continuing to implement advanced new features, new tracking capabilities have appeared, such as browser fingerprinting and now TLS tracking too. When a TLS connection is made between the user’s computer and the visited website’s server, some encryption-related information is exchanged, which can be reused the next time the same visitor comes to the site. Because this information is unique to that user, the service provider or a third-party tracker can recognize and then track the user across the web. The Hamburg University researchers also revealed that the default lifetime for TLS session resumption in most browsers is up to eight days. What this means in practice is that two-thirds of the internet users can be tracked permanently through these TLS sessions. The danger is associated mostly with third-party trackers, such as Google, that interact with users via many host names. The researchers noted that Google’s tracking service is present on 80 percent of the sites on Alexa's top one million sites list. The researchers also warned that in the case of 0-RTT (zero-round trip) resumptions when using TLS 1.3, forward secrecy can not be supported, thus also reducing the communications security. Countermeasures Against TLS Tracking The best way to fight against this form of TLS tracking is to pressure browsers to disable it completely (especially for third-party tracking services) or at least allow users to disable it manually. The Tor browser is one of the browsers that disables TLS tracking by default. Based on the empirical evidence the researchers have gathered, they recommended that the TLS session resumption lifetime should be at most 10 minutes, not seven days as it’s currently recommended for the latest version of TLS (1.3). Workaround for Firefox Credits to: audiospecaccts The reason you must add security.ssl.disable_session_identifiers see here https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=967977#c17 Source
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