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Firefox plans fix for decade-old browsing history leak
Category : General 07 Apr 2010 03:40 AM | Insider News
Firefox developers say they're close to plugging an information leakage hole that has plagued every major browser for more than a decade.
The cascading style sheets history attack makes it easy for web masters to compile vast lists of links visitors have previously viewed. It exploits technology in virtually every browser that causes visited links to be displayed in purple rather than blue. Mozilla has classified the weakness as a bug since at least 2002.
But fixing it has proved to be a vexing problem, largely because programmers didn't know how to close the hole without breaking key web functionality. Many proposed fixes threatened to bring browsers to a crawl or prevent users from knowing whether they had previously visited a website, trade-offs Mozilla, Microsoft and other browser makers have largely considered unacceptable.
Now, Mozilla security team member Sid Stamm says the hole will soon be closed in the open-source browser in a way that won't sacrifice usability. It incorporates technical changes designed to prevent the three most common attacks based on layout, timing and computed style of links.