Privacy Nightmares

Published on: Tue, Dec 30, 2008 Courtesy: bits.blogs.nytimes.com

News

Cochin: Privacy the crucial move in every browser game, and hence Mozilla’s Firefox, Google’s Chrome, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Apple’s Safari all compete to give users the most control over their privacy and the best protection from malicious “cookies” that can track users online. But through a paper published recently, Kate McKinley, a researcher at iSec Partners, a San Francisco based security firm, has questioned the privacy of Apple Safari users. Kate has also detected that none of the four major browsers extend privacy protection to Adobe’s Flash plug-ins which are used to display web animations and video.

The tests conducted by Ms. McKinley have detected Safari to be to the worst browser. When used in a “private browsing mode” on a Macintosh running OS X, Safari was found odd non-usable. When used on a machine running Windows XP, the private browsing mode turned out to be a thorough failure. It accessed previously set cookies and did not delete any new ones. Research has proved that these flaws in the makeup of Safari can be used to gain access to sensitive information stored in the user’s computer.

The issues related to Adobe flash player was found common irrespective of browsers. Flash has become common in many of the top rated websites and their cookies automatically get dropped on its own to our PC, while downloading. Ms. McKinley found that these cookies cannot be easily deleted by average users, via browser privacy settings. As a partial solution certain researchers have recommended third part cleaners like CCleaner.com. It cleans all of your browsers getting rid of the unused files so that the system becomes faster, maintaining the privacy. Tools like Flashblock are also recommended as they enable flash by using either a site-by-site whitelist or by clicking on an individual flash object. But a hundred percent satisfying answer is yet to be discovered.

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