Passkeys – Syncable WebAuthN credentials

Passwords have lousy security properties, and if you try to use them securely (long, complicated, and different for every site), they often have horrible usability as well. Over the decades, the industry has slowly tried to shore up passwords’ security with multi-factor authentication (e.g. one-time codes via SMS, ToTP authenticators, etc) and usability improvements (e.g.Continue reading “Passkeys – Syncable WebAuthN credentials”

Understanding Browser Channels

Microsoft Edge (and upstream Chrome) is available in four different Channels: Stable, Beta, Dev, and Canary. The vast majority of Edge users run on the Stable Channel, but the three pre-Stable channels can be downloaded easily from microsoftedgeinsider.com. You can keep them around for testing if you like, or join the cool kids and setContinue reading “Understanding Browser Channels”

New Recipes for 3rd Party Cookies

For privacy reasons, the web platform is moving away from supporting 3rd-party cookies, first with lockdowns, and eventually with removal of support in late 2023 the second half of 2024. Background: What Does “3rd-Party” Mean? A 3rd-party cookie is one that is set or sent from a 3rd-party context on a web page. A 3rd-partyContinue reading “New Recipes for 3rd Party Cookies”

Unexpectedly HTTPS?

While I’m a firm believer that every site should be using HTTPS, sadly, not every site is yet doing so. Looking at Chrome data, today around 92% of navigations are HTTPS: …and the pages loaded account for around 95% of browsing time: Browsers are working hard to get these numbers up, by locking down non-secureContinue reading “Unexpectedly HTTPS?”

Chromium Internals: PAK Files

Web browsers are made up of much more than the native code (mostly compiled C++) that makes up their .exe and .dll files. A significant portion of the browser’s functionality (and bulk) is what we’d call “resources”, which include things like: Images (at two resolutions, regular and “high-DPI”) Localized UI Strings HTML, JavaScript, and CSSContinue reading “Chromium Internals: PAK Files”

Smarter Defaults by Paying Attention

As a part of every page load, browsers have to make dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of decisions of varying levels of importance: should a particular API be available? Should a resource load be permitted? Should script be allowed to run? Should video be allowed to start playing automatically? Should cookies or credentials be sentContinue reading “Smarter Defaults by Paying Attention”

MHTML in Chromium

The MHTML file format (aka “Webpage, single file”) allows a single file to contain the multiple resources that are used to load a webpage (script, css, images, etc). Edge (Chromium) has code to provide limited support for MHTML, though it retains an option to use the format when saving the current page via Ctrl+S orContinue reading “MHTML in Chromium”

Debug Native Messaging

Prelude Last month, an Enterprise customer reached out to report that a 3rd-party browser extension they use wasn’t working properly. Investigation of the extension revealed that the browser extension relied upon a NativeMessaging Host (NMH) companion that runs outside of the browser’s sandbox. In reviewing a Process Monitor log provided by the customer, the SupportContinue reading “Debug Native Messaging”

Spooky: Enhancing Dark Mode in Chromium

I am not really a fan of Dark Mode — I like my screens bright and shiny. But it’s October, and it’s sometimes fun to make things dark and spooky. Some users of my Show Browser Version extension wanted it to better support Dark Mode– the default text colors didn’t work well when the browserContinue reading “Spooky: Enhancing Dark Mode in Chromium”