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On the Privacy of Private Browsing – A Forensic Approach

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Data Privacy Management and Autonomous Spontaneous Security (DPM 2013, SETOP 2013)


Private browsing has been a popular privacy feature built into all mainstream browsers since 2005. However, despite its prevalent use, the security of this feature has received little attention from the research community. In this paper, we present an up-to-date and comprehensive analysis of private browsing across four most popular web browsers: IE, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. We report that all browsers under study suffer from a variety of vulnerabilities, many of which have not been reported or known before. Our work highlights the complexity of the subject and calls for more attention from the security community.

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    Given the often negative connotation of using the private mode for viewing adult websites (see [5]), we consider the fact of using the private mode a privacy feature by itself. If the remote website learns the user is in the private mode, it may push more adult-oriented advertisement to the user.


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Correspondence to Feng Hao .

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© 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

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Satvat, K., Forshaw, M., Hao, F., Toreini, E. (2014). On the Privacy of Private Browsing – A Forensic Approach. In: Garcia-Alfaro, J., Lioudakis, G., Cuppens-Boulahia, N., Foley, S., Fitzgerald, W. (eds) Data Privacy Management and Autonomous Spontaneous Security. DPM SETOP 2013 2013. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 8247. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-642-54567-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-642-54568-9

  • eBook Packages: Computer ScienceComputer Science (R0)

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