Browsers being bad – privacy and security
If you feel the need to get tinfoil to cover your head, you are not without warrant.
Browsers are great, but as of late there has been some major stories on the privacy and security of browsers. I’m going to do a quick recap in case you have a life… er missed them.
Third party cookies – These are cookies that advertisers for instance set that you don’t know about. So say for instance you visit a site “greatnewssite.com” and there is a banner ad on the left served up by an advertising group “adgroup.com” – they may set a cookie to see that you’ve seen the ad etc. This would be a third party cookie because it’s from “adgroup.com” even though you visited “greatnewssite.com”.
Flash cookies – Well they are sort of like cookies people keep calling them that but they are technically named shared objects – they are usually used for good but can be used to track you. They are tricky to locate because there is a master interface you have to go to to remove them or see them, but with recent concerns on privacy adobe is going to be addressing this by making it easier to access and block these. If you are concerned or curious it can be accessed here.
Public record – Anything you leave out in the ether is in the pubic domain – if you give your mobile number to say facebook, and don’t change your privacy settings – sites like Spokeo and reverse lookup etc can find them and catalog them. At most of these places you can ask to have your information removed but as long as you have your data bits hanging out for the public to grab, the more likely they will be picked up by this or that site. So cover your bits!
Are we entering a new era of privacy?
New browsers are going to confront some of this Shadyness. IE9 and chrome are going one way and Firefox another. USA Today article on the new browsers privacy settings
Be wary of using unsecured wifi (and Pie-fi), poorly secured social sites can leak data. There is a browser plug-in named Firesheep that can sniff connections and do just that. The latest I’ve heard though is that Facebook is working towards supporting SSL or a secure socket layer for their accounts which may thwart this issue.
Old browsers – I can’t stress it enough older browsers like IE6 have terrible security holes in them and should be avoided.
One of the big pushed to use Firefox or Mozilla started do to the problems with the IE browser.
Next week: TBD