Private Browsing Mode

Note: This blog post was written before the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge was announced. As a consequence, it mostly discusses the behavior of the Legacy Microsoft Edge browser. The new Chromium-based Edge behaves largely the same way as Google Chrome. InPrivate Mode was introduced in Internet Explorer 8 with the goal of helping users improveContinue reading “Private Browsing Mode”

Cookie Controls, Revisited

Update: The October 2018 Cumulative Security Update (KB4462919) brings the RS5 Cookie Control changes described below to Windows 10 RS2, RS3, and RS4. Note: Most of the content about “Edge” in this post describes Edge Legacy– modern Edge is based on Chromium and behaves mostly like Chrome. Cookies are one of the most crucial features inContinue reading “Cookie Controls, Revisited”

Understanding the Limitations of HTTPS

A colleague recently forwarded me an article about the hazards of browsing on public WiFi with the question: “Doesn’t HTTPS fix this?” And the answer is, “Yes, generally.” As with most interesting questions, however, the complete answer is a bit more complicated. HTTPS is a powerful technology for helping secure the web; all websites should beContinue reading “Understanding the Limitations of HTTPS”

Taking Off Your NameTag

Recently, there’s been some excitement over the discovery that some sites are (ab)using browser password managers to identify users even when they’re not logged in. This technique (I call it the “NameTag vulnerability”) isn’t new or novel, but the research showing that it’s broadly being used “in the wild” is certainly interesting1, and may motivateContinue reading “Taking Off Your NameTag”

HTTPS Only Works If You Use It – Tipster Edition

It’s recently become fashionable for news organizations to build “anonymous tip” sites that permit members of the public to confidentially submit tips about stories of public interest. Unfortunately, would-be tipsters need to take great care when exploring such options, because many organizations aren’t using HTTPS properly to ensure that the user’s traffic to the newsContinue reading “HTTPS Only Works If You Use It – Tipster Edition”

Do Not Lie to Users

Multiple people working on Outlook.com thought this was a reasonable design. After a user deletes an email, then manually goes into the Deleted Items folder, then clicks Delete again, then acknowledges that they wish to Permanently Delete the deleted item: … the item is still not deleted. You can “Recover deleted items” from your Deleted items folder:Continue reading “Do Not Lie to Users”