Tag: browser

Protester wants to broadcast Republican’s browser histories

US dollar - Wikimedia CommonsA protester who is upset at the Republican congress voting to allow ISPs to flog people’s browser histories to the highest bidder has come up with a novel way of doing so.

Online privacy activist Adam McElhaney has launched an initiative called Search Internet History, with the objective of raising funds to buy the browsing history of each politician who voted to do away with privacy.

We guess he will then publish the information for everyone to mock and be shocked at. After all it is pretty likely that more than one Jesus loving, right-wing Republican will have a hard-core donkey porn addition and will order prostitutes and rent-boys online.

On Tuesday, Congress sent proposed legislation to President Trump that wipes away landmark online privacy protections.

On the site, McElhaney has also put up a poll asking people whose internet history they would like to see first. The campaign which only needed $10,000 has already raised over $55,000 which should be enough to get a few interesting browser histories.

Vivaldi lashes out at Vole for making Edge on all four seasons

vivaldiA Vivaldi boss has lashed out at Microsoft over its anti-competitive practices with Microsoft Edge.

Jon von Tetzchner says that Microsoft has forgotten about the “actual real-life people that use technology in their daily lives”.

He is particularly miffed at Windows 10’s continued insistence of resetting the default browser to Edge.

Von Tetzchner said that that Microsoft is failing to respect the decisions made by users, and this is something that needs to stop.

Each time Windows 10 upgrades, it changes the default browser to Edge. When a new browser is installed it also leads to restoring Edge as the default option.

Microsoft has also made it complicated for a non-technical user to bring their old default browser back.

“Our goal as technology companies should be to provide great software to our users. At the same time, we should accept that some users prefer software created by other companies. It is our responsibility to be fair to the users, and this is what should drive the technology industry forward. Stripping users of their ability to choose or forcefully limiting their options stalls progress. Focusing on building great products is what should drive us to excel,” he wrote.


Microsoft loses security Edge

Edge_confirms_new_U2_album_is_on_the_way_Songs_Of_Experience_Brian_Eno_music_scen_irelandMicrosoft’s Edge browser comes with a feature which could be used by technical support scammers.

The Edge browser’s ability to warn users of dodgy sites, or other security alerts can be abused to display native and legitimate-looking warning messages. This is a gift for tech support scammers who could use it to get the great unwashed to call them thinking they have been hacked.

The flaws exist in Voles ms-appx and ms-appx-web protocols which the browser uses to present warning messages when phishing or malware delivery sites are located.

When Edge detects suspected Malicious sites it colours them red with a feature called “SmartScreen”.

However, Buenos Aires security tester Manuel Caballero said it was a doddle for scammers to create warnings that replace SmartScreen text and phone numbers indicating that a nominated site also displayed in the address bar is infected.

All they must do is altering URL characters and appending a hash and a URL of a legitimate-looking site.

Those errors could be avoided by changing a single character in URL, and the displayed address changed to a legitimate site by appending a hash. It is not clear if Microsoft is doing anything about the problem yet.

There’s more browsing on mobiles than PCs

mobileInternet usage by mobile and tablet exceeded desktop worldwide for the first time in October according to web analytics company StatCounter

The StatCounter beancounters found that mobile and tablet devices accounted for 51.3 percent of internet usage worldwide in October compared to 48.7 percent by desktop.

“This should be a wake up call especially for small businesses, sole traders and professionals to make sure that their websites are mobile friendly. Many older websites are not,” commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter.

“Mobile compatibility is increasingly important not just because of growing traffic but because Google favours mobile friendly websites for its mobile search results.” He pointed out that Google recently launched a tool where businesses can test their website mobile performance.

Despite the rapid growth of mobile devices, desktop is still the primary mode of internet usage in mature markets such as the US and UK.

However, Cullen warned, “Post-Brexit, UK businesses should be aware, as they look to increase trade outside the EU, that India for example has over 75% internet usage through mobile devices.”

In the UK desktop is on 55.6 per cent  with mobile and tablet on 44.4 per cent .

In the US desktop still accounts for 58 per cent  of internet usage compared to 42 per cent for mobile and tablet.

Browsers block Pirate Bay

pirate-bayChrome, Firefox, and Safari are blocking access to The Pirate Bay torrent site and posting a “Deceptive site ahead” error.

This error message is seen on dangerous sites that may attempt to collect user credentials with fake login pages, show deceptive ads, or push unwanted downloads. Kickass Torrents almost a month ago, when the same three browsers displayed the same error for at least three days to their users.

Kickass said it happened because of the intermediary confirmation screen that appeared every time users navigated away from the site. But Pirate Bay does not use this type of external link confirmation system and has not used one for years.

The cause is probably the presence of links that lead to phishing websites or malicious ads that use forbidden redirection tricks.

This is the second time in two weeks that Pirate Bay has been in trouble. Malwarebytes discovered malicious ads on the portal, redirecting users to exploit kits that were delivering the Cerber ransomware.

At the moment Chrome users will see the “Deceptive site ahead” error, Firefox users will get a “Reported Web Forgery!” and Safari users will see “Suspected Phishing Site” in their browsers.

Opera sings of VPN

opera460The desktop version of the Opera browser has just been given a free built-in VPN service, which will provide a major headache for those who have set up geo-restricted content gates.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) service allows users to hide their actual location for privacy and helps protect users from revealing what they are surfing when using free public Wi-Fi.

It will effectively knock out any attempt by the British government to stop the working classes seeing porn.

To make matters even better,  Opera’s integrated VPN will offer users unlimited data as well, which means there are no data caps to worry about that may be prevalent on similar free VPN services.

All this is happening as Netflix, have become more strict on blocking users from accessing content not in their region. While the primary aim of Opera’s VPN is to ensure its user’s privacy but it does boast of bypassing geo-restrictions as a feature.

Opera says that users should be able to watch HD content, though 1080p and above versions may encounter buffering. It will also be free.

However, the company declined to comment on whether the VPN service will work in China. The browser company will soon be sold to a Chinese consortium and use of VPN services are typically frowned upon behind the Great Firewall of China, with some services blocked from local access.


Copyright troll wants to hack your browser

Wikia_HP_-_Mountain_TrollCopyright troll Rightscorp wants to hijack the browsers of those it wants to extort money from to force them to pay up rather than go through all that inconvenience of going to court.

Rightscorp tracks the IP addresses of individuals who torrent certain titles. It then sends threatening letters to those users via their ISPs, threatening a giant lawsuit, and then offering a low settlement. But now that the company’s financials are down the loo it has a new cunning plan. It wants to lock users’ browsers until they pay a settlement fine.

The idea was spotted in a filing earlier this week:

“In the Scalable Copyright system, subscribers receive each [settlement] notice directly in their browser. Single notices can be read and bypassed similar to the way a software license agreement works [but] once the internet account receives a certain number of notices over a certain time period, the screen cannot be bypassed until the settlement payment is received.”

The hijacking would have to be done by ISPs, and would be technologically reasonably simple to implement—just redirect every webpage to Rightscorp’s notice instead, although it would be pretty simple to bypass using a VPN instead.

Of course it is going to hack off a lot of ISP customers. These are the people who give the ISP money, while Rightscorp doesn’t.  ISPs in that sort of situation are more likely to go to court to defend their customers from copyright shakedowns.  It does not seem likely that they are going to voluntarily back a hugely invasive and unpopular method of getting the movie theatres more dosh.


MIT speeds up browser loads with travelling salesperson

Dogcart3Researchers at MIT have worked out a way to download webpages 34 percent faster.

As websites become more complex, they take longer to load so MIT has been working on a new method which allows browsers gather files more efficiently.

Ravi Netravali, one of the researchers, in a press release said that the bottleneck is caused by the fact that pages require multiple trips that create delays.

The new approach called Polaris minimises the number of round trips so that we can substantially speed up a page’s load-time.

Dubbed Polaris it was developed by the University’s at Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. It logs all the dependencies and inter-dependencies on a web page. It compiles all of these into a graph for the page that a browser can use to download page elements more efficiently. The researchers liken it to the work of travelling salesperson.

When you visit one city, you sometimes discover more cities you have to visit before going home. If someone gave you the entire list of cities ahead of time, you could plan the fastest possible route. Without the list, though, you have to discover new cities as you go, which results in unnecessary zig-zagging between far-away cities, they said.

For a web browser, loading all of a page’s objects is like visiting all of the cities. Polaris effectively gives you a list of all the cities before your trip actually begins.

The team’s tested the system on 200 different websites, including ESPN, Weather.com, and Wikipedia. On average, it was able to load web pages 34 percent faster than a standard browser. The work will be presented later this week at the USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation.

Polaris is written in JavaScript which means it can be introduced to any website—it’d just have to be running on the server in question, so it’d automatically kick in for any page load—and used with unmodified browsers.
In the long term it could be integrated into the browsers where it could “enable additional optimizations that can further accelerate page loads.

Microsoft opens its Chakra


chakra lightsSoftware giant Microsoft has open sourced its Chakra JavaScript engine it’s been working on since 2008.

The release will cover the “self-contained” parts of the code, and will hit the Web as ChakraCore, with support from Intel, AMD and NodeSource.

As a self-contained project, the core will include everything needed to “parse, interpret, compile and execute JavaScript code without any dependencies on Microsoft Edge internals”, Microsoft says.

Redmond’s announcement, made by Gaurav Seth says a GitHub repository will be posted next month.

According to the Vole Blog, Chakra architecture’s multi-tiered pipeline that supports an interpreter, and a multi-tiered background JIT compiler. There is a  traditional mark and sweep garbage collector that can do concurrent and partial collections deliver performance and scalability from “cloud services to the Internet of Things”.

The ChakraCore VM can work with NoSQL databases, productivity software and game engines, they write, and supports Node.js to extend its reach.

Vole has abandoned Chakra’s private bindings to the browser and to the Universal Windows Platform. It also rewrote the old COM-based diagnostic APIs, providing diagnostics which are “platform agnostic and could be standardised or made interoperable across different implementations”.

The initial open source ChakraCore is Windows-only, Vole wants developers to help get ChakraCore on other platforms.


Mozilla props up its Open Source projects

rms-meets-open-sauce-detail-1Open saucy browser maker Mozilla is spending a million dollars to make sure that the projects, upon which the company depends on do not collapse.

One of the problems of Open Sauce software is that projects get dumped because they cannot find enough developers interested in maintaining them, or the money to keep them active. This is a problem for a big organisation like Mozilla which needs some projects to be kept going at all costs.

Now the maker of the Firefox browser, Mozilla is launching an award program specifically focused on supporting open source and free software. Its initial allocation for this programme is $1,000,000.

Mozilla has had a grant programme for many years, but now feels it is time to formalize a systematic way to provide a new level of support to this community.

Dubbed the Mozilla Open Source Support programme is designed to “recognise and celebrate” communities which are leading the way with open source projects that contribute to its work and the health of the Web, said Mozilla.

“The cash will not only be used to “give back” to existing projects on which Mozilla depends, but can also be used to support other projects where financial resources from Mozilla can make our entire community more successful.”

The Mozilla Open Source Support programme will also have a component supporting increased attention to the security of open source and free software programs.

The outfit has promised more cash to the project in the future. Initially it will identify up to 10 projects we rely on and can fund in a thoughtful, meaningful way by December 12.