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Brave will shut down port scans

by on30 June 2023

Stop website snooping

The Brave browser will crack down on websites that snoop on visitors by scanning their open Internet ports or accessing other network resources that can expose personal information.

After version 1.54, Brave will automatically block website port scanning, a practice that a large number of sites were found engaging in a few years ago.One researcher who goes by the handle G666g1e, 744 websites scanned visitors' ports, most or all without providing notice or seeking permission in advance. eBay, Chick-fil-A, Best Buy, Kroger, and Macy's were among the offending websites.

Some sites use similar tactics in an attempt to fingerprint visitors so they can be re-identified each time they return, even if they delete browser cookies. By running scripts that access local resources on the visiting devices, the sites can detect unique patterns in a visiting browser. Sometimes there are benign reasons a site will access local resources, such as detecting insecurities or allowing developers to test their websites. Often, however, there are more abusive or malicious motives involved.

The new version of Brave will curb the practice. By default, no website will be able to access local resources. More advanced users who want a particular site to have such access can add it to an allow list.

Brave will continue to use filter list rules to block scripts and sites known to abuse localhost resources. Additionally, the browser will include an allow list that gives the green light to sites known to access localhost resources for user-benefiting reasons.

The outfit's developers wrote that Brave has implemented the localhost permission in this multistep way for several reasons.

"Most importantly, we expect that abuse of localhost resources is far more common than user-benefiting cases, and we want to avoid presenting users with permission dialogs for requests we expect will only cause harm."

"As far as we can tell, Brave is the only browser that will block requests to localhost resources from both secure and insecure public sites, while still maintaining a compatibility path for sites that users trust (in the form of the discussed localhost permission)" the Brave post said.


Last modified on 30 June 2023
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