New software protects customers’ personal information whereas they browse


SugarCoat modifies code to guard personal information. Credit: UCSD

Computer scientists funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and affiliated with the University of California San Diego and Brave Software have developed a software that may enhance protections for customers’ personal information whereas they browse the online.

The software, named SugarCoat, targets scripts that hurt customers’ privateness—for instance, by monitoring their browsing history across the internet—but are important for the web sites that embed them to operate. SugarCoat replaces these scripts with others which have the identical properties, minus the privacy-harming options. SugarCoat is designed to be built-in into current privacy-focused browsers like Brave, Firefox and Tor in addition to browser extensions like uBlock Origin. SugarCoat is open supply and is at the moment being built-in into the Brave browser.

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“SugarCoat is a practical system designed to address the lose-lose dilemma that privacy-focused tools face today: Block privacy-harming scripts but break websites that rely on them, or keep sites working, but give up on privacy,” stated Deian Stefan of UC San Diego. “SugarCoat eliminates this trade-off by allowing the scripts to run, thus preserving compatibility, while preventing the scripts from accessing user-private data.”

The researchers described their work on the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security.

“SugarCoat integrates with existing content-blocking tools, like ad blockers, to empower users to browse the Web without giving up their privacy,” stated Michael Smith, who’s main the mission.

Most current content-blocking instruments make very coarse-grained selections. They both completely block or completely enable a script to run, based mostly on whether or not it seems on a public record of privacy-harming scripts. In apply, although, some scripts are each privacy-harming and crucial for web sites to operate, and most instruments inevitably select to make an exception and permit these scripts to run. Today, there are greater than 6,000 exception guidelines letting via these privacy-harming scripts.

Instead of blocking a script fully or permitting it to run, content-blocking instruments can substitute supply code with another privacy-preserving model. For instance, as a substitute of loading standard website analytics scripts which additionally monitor users, content-blocking instruments substitute these scripts with faux variations that look the identical. This ensures that the content-blocking instruments will not be breaking internet pages that embed these scripts and that the scripts can not entry personal information—and thus report it again to analytics firms.

This tool protects your private data while you browse

More data:
Michael Smith et al, SugarCoat: Programmatically Generating Privacy-Preserving, Web-Compatible Resource Replacements for Content Blocking, Proceedings of the 2021 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security (2021). DOI: 10.1145/3460120.3484578

New software protects customers’ personal information whereas they browse (2021, December 14)
retrieved 14 December 2021

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