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October 7, 2008

Inside Security News
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» Google Chrome is here! ..any tips?!

Google Chrome, another Internet browser has arrived to provide another alternative to surfing the web. We think that it is just great to have different options and new technologies introduced into this field. Sure making the project open source will help drive it into different areas in the future but for now it is in beta mode. Let us look at some disadvantages associated with browser’s functionality. A valuable and helpful feature from the Google Chrome Options is the “Restore the pages that were last opened”.

However Google Chrome doesn’t allow you to get rid of the last tab just before you exit the Web Browser. In other words, hitting the close button, which is in the tab area, will exit the browser without totally closing that tab. What this means is that the tab will open again when the browser re-opens.This is the behaviour that you would expect to happen when you hit the close button on the browser and not that of the tab.

Furthermore, the “Clear Browsing Data” option will clear the browsing and download history logs, empty your cache, discard any cookies and clear any saved passwords but still wont get rid of this last tab left there in your browser.

So, the only option you are left with, to be on the safe side and keep the “Restore the pages that were last opened” option true, you need to navigate to another random webpage (i.e., google.com) manually then do a “Clear Browsing Data” and finally close your Chrome Browser. From a more technical point of view, the browser has a behaviour that could be taken advantage of in order to produce confusion to a user.

By creating a script that removes the files that start with the letter f from the userprofile\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Cache any web sites you are trying to access that you already have visited in the past will simply start coming up in a weird format (i.e, cached images are missing) and maybe completely inaccessible. The only way to solve this problem is to go to your browser and perform a “Clear Browsing Data”. This will solve the browsing problem but it will also get rid of data that you did not actually want to delete from your cache.

Closing the browser and re-opening it will not solve this problem either as the caching mechanism does not check to see if the cache files exist.

*Thanks goes to K.Xynos for his feedback on the article and light editing it.

August 7, 2008

Inside Security News
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» Food for thought, Google is unhealthy for you

…and on a different note, that has to do more about University life more than anything else on this blog. Professor of media studies at the University of Brighton, Tara Brabazon, has done something really brave. She has banned [1] her students from using Wikipedia and search engines (e.g., Google).

Do I agree with it? Well we have been taught and therefore advise students that referencing unreliable webpages and Wikipedia (…and yes, I have seen google searches being referenced!!!) is not acceptable. They do provide a good starting ground and that is my opinion. Not necessarily a complete resource but somewhere to start from. We can not run away from the advances in technology and the strengths it provides. We can, on the other hand, use it in moderation, how ever it is calculated or determined; in this case it is banned.

The Professor says that "Too many students don't use their own brains enough. We need to bring back the important values of research and analysis."[1] I would imagine that this is especially true when students copy paste work or they do not correctly process the knowledge.

For those interested on how “Google is the white bread for the mind” more information can be found here [2].

Links used:
[1] Lecturer bans students from using Google and Wikipedia - http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/generalnews/display.var.1961862.0.lecturer_bans_students_from_using_google_and_wikipedia.php

[2] Google is white bread for the mind - inaugural lecture from Professor Tara Brabazon - http://www.brighton.ac.uk/news/2008/080107googleiswhitebread.php