Monthly Archives: January 2009
This is a follow-up to the earlier Google Chrome article. Now that Google Chrome has been officially launched and people have just started getting accustomed to Google’s new Browser. But one still wonders why the foray into the browser world when it had such a successful partnership with Mozilla Firefox.
Maybe it wants to create a space for itself in the online space and wanted to redefine how people access online content. Is it that simple? If you are naive, then yes it’s that simple but in the corporate world nowadays, it’s not that simple anymore. It seems that Google is out to grab every piece of online data source that’s available and index it. So, if you just wanted to promote more searches wouldn’t you just promote people to use the Google Search Toolbar that comes along with an add-on for most popular browsers like IE, Firefox. So, if Google is not trying to create a monopoly in the online world nor is it trying to rake in everyone’s money (the general perception that the evil big Redmond based MS Corp had or probably argued in some circles to still have), what is it trying to do. The latest gossip, rumor or whatever you want to call it, is that Google is trying to capture the online data space and becoming a pseudo Big Brother. Not that it doesn’t have the resources to do so. What’s more alarming is that if that’s the agenda, then you have a Global Big Brother who can dig up your dirty online secrets and also potentially confidential information which you don’t want ever shared.
From a CNet.com article, Chrome’s End User License agreement appeared to give Google a perpetual right to use anything one entered into the browser. Section 11 stated that although users retain copyright to their works, "by submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services."
Google has released a statement saying that it’s working to modify the Terms of Section 11 very soon. Well, isn’t that a bit alarming considering that a quite a substantial amount of people transact online.
So, is Google Chrome an indiscreet way of capturing a users Internet habits and storing browsing information?? May be we are reading too much between the lines. Maybe we are not. Still wondering how a data interceptor is better than a so-called evil corp!!!
A yet another chapter in the Net Wars kicks off with the launch of Google Chrome. As per the Google Chrome’s homepage:
Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier.
Will the Chrome Browser be able to make dents into MS share of the browser market? The IE name has become synonymous Internet Browser no matter what patrons of Google, erstwhile Netscape (is it still around 🙂 ), Firefox have to say. Today every company that comes out with a browser, open source or not, pays attention to details like privacy, security, user experience, ease of usability, stability and blah blah blah….
But what makes you stand out is how you market your product and are you able to address user concerns in an effective manner. IE currently holds 70%+ share of the browser market which Google is aiming at. Everything looks fancy on paper and also initial response has been positive for Chrome. But will this make a deep impact? Google’s chiefs seem very optimistic and think that the answer is YES. Terms like Incognito mode (a new step towards maintaining user privacy), Sandbox approach (for better web security) and App View (this is similar to the Prism effort of the Mozilla browser) are here to dazzle the users and the experts at Mountain View are prophesying this to be the next household name in Web Browsing.
Considering that one of the prime objectives of Google is to collect user’s browsing patterns, one still wonders if they have a mechanism to capture such data. But probably I’m being paranoid or may be not. Also, issues like user login detection, intranet hacking, history stealing etc. need to be tested and these will only be ironed out with a larger adoption rate and much more users using the system.
But what many people do not realize is that such schemes will not help you retrieve the password of your spouse/partner if you want to confirm your suspicions nor will it help you keep tabs on your business partner (in a malicious manner). This will only land you in trouble. The truth is, these scams works by fooling you into giving out your own password blindly. One of their tactics is to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com along with your username and password. These hackers claimed that there is a bug in the Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo or AOL mail system and by emailing your user name, your password and your spouse’s /friend’s /enemy’s email address to the designated email address, a reply together with the requested password would arrive in your inbox within a day or two. Truth is, you’ve been conned into giving out your password, thus allowing the hacker unrestricted access into your email account.
The fact of the matter is the developers of the security systems for such web driven applications are human beings and sometimes they also have flaws. But once such a flaw is discovered, the security teams at any of the above companies do not sit around and twiddle their thumbs waiting for potential hackers develop softwares and evangelise the mechanisms to hack into their mail systems.
Lot of people claim Brute Force is quite helpful. 99% of todays Web Servers are able to detect DOS attacks and promptly block any such IP trying to do so in order to retrieve an accounts password by going through a laundry list of password combinations.
The most common ways people can fall prey to such password hacking are:
1. Trojans, viruses and other malicious softwares which use mechanisms as key loggers (software/hardware) to siphon of your username and password to an anonymous server
2. You sending you such information on the Net to a friend/spouse/partner etc and it getting tapped mid way.
The bottomline is exploiting a bug in an email system requires an in depth knowledge in computing and you would be battling against a team of engineers who are working to patch such a vulnerability. Add to the fact that these engineers are also damn good at what they do.