Before we look at canvas finger printing, I just want to set the scene with a reminder of one of the most fundamental truths about how the web was designed – each web page load is an independent event. Because that meant websites had no memory of anything that went before, i.e. no concept of state the original web could not cope with concepts like logging in, or shopping baskets. Something had to be bolted on to allow web servers connect individual requests into related groups of requests.
The official mechanism added to the HTTP protocol for retaining state between requests is the humble cookie. Cookies gave us the ability to log in, and basically, the modern web. But, they came with a dark side — as well as enabling all the cool things we like about the modern web, they also enabled tracking.
Bart was on the Phileas Club this week to talk about Ireland, and I was on Daily Tech News Show with Sarah Lane. Rick from Baltimore joins us with his first audio submission, where he tells us about how he discovered how to reset the People album in Apple Photos. I’ve found a tool called Grammarly to help me minimize typos that makes me happy. Bart brings us an out-of-band Security Bits session because of the big vulnerability discovered this week in WiFi. It’s oddly a reassuring session!
Security Medium 1 – WPA WiFi Encryption Develops KRACKs
This week started with a big security news announcement (responsibly disclosed, which is nice). Security researchers at the Belgian university KU Leuven revealed a collection of related attacks against the WPA2 protocol (WiFi Protected Access version 2). The problem at the root of these attacks was not related to any specific implementation of the spec, but with the spec itself, so every manufacturer who implemented the spec correctly would have introduced these vulnerabilities into their WiFi drivers. Because you have to give a bug a fancy name to get any media attention these days, it was given the somewhat strained pseudo-acronym KRACKs, from key reinstallation attacks.
We’re not going to go into the technical minutia here, but I have included links to some good explanations below. I do want to give a high-level overview of the problem though.