Tor is the encrypted, anonymous way to browse the web that keeps you safe from prying eyes, right?
Well, no, not always.
Blogger and security researcher Chloe spent a month tempting unscrupulous Tor exit node operators with a vulnerable honeypot website to see if anyone was looking for passwords to steal.
In all, the trap sprung for twelve exit nodes, raising a finger of suspicion for them and reminding us that you can’t get complacent about security even if you’re using Tor.
Tor is a bit of heavy duty open source security software that’s famously used to access anonymous, hidden services (the so-called Dark Web) but, more commonly, used as a way to access the regular internet anonymously and in a way that’s resistant to surveillance.
Tor (short for The Onion Router) works by sending your encrypted network traffic on an eccentric journey between Tor ‘nodes’. At each step along the way each Tor node helps keep you safe by never knowing what’s in your message and never knowing more about your data’s journey than the node it came from and the next one it’s going to.
“The long wait is over,” Apple WebKit engineer John Wilander announced on Tuesday: the latest update to the Safari browser is blocking third-party cookies by default for all users.
Safari 13.1 was released on Tuesday, bringing full cookie blocking and other updates to Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) privacy feature. What it means: online advertisers and analytics firms will no longer be able to use our browser cookies to follow us around like bloodhounds as we wander from site to site, tracking and mapping our interests and behavior for whatever profit-motivated, privacy-wrecking purposes they might have.
Is this is a big deal? Not really, Wilander said in a post on the WebKit team’s blog, given that previous work has meant that most cookies are already blocked:
It might seem like a bigger change than it is.
But we’ve added so many restrictions to ITP since its initial release in 2017 that we are now at a place where most third-party cookies are already blocked in Safari.
Safari thus joins other browsers that either plan to or are already blocking third-party tracking cookies by default, including the Tor browser. Mozilla rolled out the privacy enhancement in September 2019, announcing that Firefox would block both tracking cookies and cryptomining by default.
We study six browsers: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Brave Browser, Microsoft Edge and Yandex Browser. Chrome is by far the most popular browser, followed by Safari and Firefox. Between them these browsers are used for the great majority of web access. Brave is a recent privacyorientated browser, Edge is the new Microsoft browser and Yandex is popular amongst Russian speakers (second only to Chrome).
In summary, based on our measurements we find that the browsers split into three distinct groups from this privacy perspective.
In the first (most private) group lies Brave
In the second Chrome, Firefox and Safari
And in the third (least private) group lie Edge and Yandex.
Used “out of the box” with its default settings Brave is by far the most private of the browsers studied. We did not find any use of identifiers allowing tracking of IP address over time, and no sharing of the details of web pages visited with backend servers
When we all know that surveillance business has got free hand for long time but things are changing now. Not only Govts (i.e European union, USA, Germany) as an individual we are more cautious about our privacy. Privacy regulations like GDPR has made big impact. Big giants have no option but to regulate themselves or pay huge fine. We all know that Google & facebook have paid huge fine recently. We should also acknowledge facebook scandals contribution in whole privacy movement.
In a very recent move, Firefox has announced few important & impressive security features and some of them listed here:
Enhanced tracking protection
Firefox will be made available to new users with enhanced tracking protection enabled by default. Those already using Firefox will see the feature rolled out automatically in the coming months. Mozilla says the new feature will stop the “thousands of companies known for tracking” from accessing users’ personal data.
Password protection & inform user about data breaches
Another feature available on all browsers is a central dashboard called Firefox Monitor, originally announced in 2018 as a partnership with Troy Hunt’s Have I Been Pwned website. This is especially impressive because it allows users to search whether their details have been exposed in any known breaches, so they can change their passwords when needed.
For those who cares about security & privacy and don’t want websites to track everything. We could give a try on firefox. Below snapshot shows privacy options you have in Firefox.