Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

2/21/2012
02:17 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Microsoft Says Google Bypasses IE Privacy Controls

Google responds by calling IE's privacy system outmoded and impractical; Microsoft takes some heat for selective presentation of facts.

Taking the opportunity to kick Google while it is down, Microsoft published Monday a blog post accusing Google of ignoring privacy controls in Internet Explorer.

Coming just days after the Wall Street Journal reported that Google and three other advertising companies were bypassing privacy controls in Apple's Safari Web browser, Microsoft's charges seem calculated to further complicate Google's ongoing regulatory entanglements related both to privacy and antitrust issues.

But Google could well escape further embarrassment because of Microsoft's selective presentation of facts.

"We've found that Google bypasses the P3P Privacy Protection feature in IE," said Dean Hachamovitch, corporate VP of Internet Explorer in a blog post. "The result is similar to the recent reports of Google's circumvention of privacy protections in Apple's Safari Web browser, even though the actual bypass mechanism Google uses is different."

What Microsoft neglects to mention is that Facebook also ignores P3P, as does just about everyone these days.

Google SVP of communications and policy Rachel Whetstone said in an emailed statement that modern Web services enabled by cookies are broken by the way Microsoft implements P3P in Internet Explorer. "These include things like Facebook 'Like' buttons, the ability to sign-in to websites using your Google account, and hundreds more modern Web services," she said. "It is well known that it is impractical to comply with Microsoft's request while providing this Web functionality."

[ Only you can protect your privacy. Read Google's Privacy Invasion: It's Your Fault. ]

P3P, the Platform for Privacy Preferences, is a 10-year-old protocol that allows websites to declare their privacy policies in a machine-readable format. Microsoft is the only major browser vendor that still bothers with it, and even Microsoft doesn't implement P3P on all of its websites.

As a 2010 Carnegie Mellon research paper notes, "... many websites are not taking P3P seriously and are behaving in ways that undermine the purpose of the P3P specification."

Privacy researcher Christopher Soghoian highlighted Microsoft's hypocrisy in a Twitter post. "Instead of fixing P3P loophole in IE that [Facebook] & Amazon exploited, [Microsoft] did nothing," he wrote. "Now they complain after Google uses it."

Microsoft also took a beating in the comments section of its blog post, with far more critics than supporters.

Google suggests that transparency is enough. But that's not going to satisfy everyone.

The right forensic tools in the right hands are just a start. The new Digital Detectives issue of Dark Reading shows you how to better apply the lessons they teach. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Sabrina
50%
50%
Sabrina,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/23/2012 | 6:44:50 AM
re: Microsoft Says Google Bypasses IE Privacy Controls
Microsoft is responsible for their own problems now they are saying the mistakes on others
Deliver a Deadly Counterpunch to Ransomware Attacks: 4 Steps
Mathew Newfield, Chief Information Security Officer at Unisys,  12/10/2019
Intel's CPU Flaws Continue to Create Problems for the Tech Community
Irfan Ahmed, Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Commonwealth University,  12/10/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Our Endpoint Protection system is a little outdated... 
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-16246
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
Intesync Solismed 3.3sp1 allows Local File Inclusion (LFI), a different vulnerability than CVE-2019-15931. This leads to unauthenticated code execution.
CVE-2019-17358
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
Cacti through 1.2.7 is affected by multiple instances of lib/functions.php unsafe deserialization of user-controlled data to populate arrays. An authenticated attacker could use this to influence object data values and control actions taken by Cacti or potentially cause memory corruption in the PHP ...
CVE-2019-17428
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
An issue was discovered in Intesync Solismed 3.3sp1. An flaw in the encryption implementation exists, allowing for all encrypted data stored within the database to be decrypted.
CVE-2019-18345
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
A reflected XSS issue was discovered in DAViCal through 1.1.8. It echoes the action parameter without encoding. If a user visits an attacker-supplied link, the attacker can view all data the attacked user can view, as well as perform all actions in the name of the user. If the user is an administrat...
CVE-2019-19198
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
The Scoutnet Kalender plugin 1.1.0 for WordPress allows XSS.