Apple has been trying hard to improve the security mechanisms of its hardware and software products. The addition of new privacy features in Safari browser is yet another attempt to toughen security measures for preventing breaches and tracking by websites like Facebook.
Before the induction of new features, Safari browser used to wait for at least 24 hours before blocking cookies of a particular third-party website. Facebook, Google, and some other websites were exempted from this blockage, while these are the most frequently visited websites.
However, now Safari will be blocking cookies automatically for all websites or may ask for your permission in certain cases. It is worth noting that the browser will still be remembering sign-in details as well as user preferences but some of the websites, which previously were exempted, will now be required to adjust their coding.
You may not know but it is a fact that browsers are capable of revealing device related information such as the OS and installed fonts. The information is revealed to let websites make necessary adjustment in their formatting so as to display pages appropriately. But, as it has been observed in many incidents of privacy leakage that browsers reveal a lot more than required and not all of the information is harmless. The data can be used to identify a user, which is a blatant exploitation of user privacy.
From now on though, Safari will be hiding those specifications that reveal user identity and will be literally blurring your image. It will only reveal fonts that are installed-by-default, not even those that have been custom installed. According to Lance Cottrell, privacy service Anonymizer’s creator, this system is like you can assume that the image is that of a person and not of a dog but “you can’t recognize a person’s face.”
Moreover, Safari will only pass the name of the domain of a website from now on and not send the web address of the page you are visiting, which other browsers still do. It must be noted that by revealing full web address it is possible to reveal what a user is surfing for on the web. Such as, instead of sending out the full link of the product you are exploring on Amazon.com, Safari will only show the domain name Amazon.com.
Safari will also be catching identifiers that advertisers leave to bypass third-party cookies restrictions by routing through a series of websites. The modifications to the browser will come into effect from Tuesday, and the update is part of the upcoming iOS 12 update for iOS devices including iPhone and iPads. For Macs and Mojave, the browser update will be released after a week.
On the other hand, Mozilla is also following the same pattern in order to block all cross-site tracking by default in the Firefox browser.
We’re working on stopping all cross-site tracking by default in Firefox.
If you’re not using Firefox yet, there’s never been a better time to make the switch!https://t.co/2nPou4ooM5
— Firefox ? (@firefox) September 14, 2018
In a blog post, the company categorically stated that:
In the near future, Firefox will — by default — protect users by blocking tracking while also offering a clear set of controls to give our users more choice over what information they share with sites.
Therefore, if you are using Safari or Firefox browser; the good news is that none of the browsers will allow companies to track your browser activities and that would also block them from targeted advertising based on your online search results, private conversation and the websites you visit on daily bases.