Web browser design leaves opening for privacy attacks

Dec. 5, 2000 12:31 a.m.

Princeton computer scientists have discovered a trait of Web browser design that allows Web sites to cull private information about the recent browsing histories of visitors.

While there is no evidence that any Web sites use such a snooping tactic, the researchers believe the method could pose serious risks to privacy. The technique is undetectable and defeats nearly all available privacy measures, although design changes in future browsers could reduce the problem.

Edward Felten, professor of computer science, and graduate student Michael Schneider described the technique in the proceedings of Association for Computing Machinery Conference on Computer and Communications Security, a major conference held Nov. 1-4 in Athens.

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