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Apple’s anti web-tracking tool meant to bolster privacy actually exposed private browsing habits of Safari users, report says

Daily Mail [1]
January 23, 2020

Apple’s anti web-tracking features meant to prevent sleuthy sites from monitoring users’ online activity came at the expense of their security says researchers.

According to a report [2]from a team of researchers at Google [3] that was first highlighted by the Financial Times [4], several flaws were found in a feature called Intelligent Tracking Prevention rolled out in 2017 which was meant to stop digital ad companies from hoovering people’s web data.

In all, five different vulnerabilities in the feature first discovered in August last year opened users up to attacks that expose ‘sensitive private information about the user’s browsing habits.’

Flaws enable a hypothetical hacker to glean various bits of private data, including specific web searchers and which sites they actually visit.

Though the feature was initially touted as a major improvement to user privacy, given its goal of protecting web activity for anyone using the Safari browser, its ingenuity also led some of its issues.

Because an algorithm powering the tool runs on-device, making it able to learn from user behavior and improve, it also stored user behavior inside phones, creating a vulnerable trove of web data.

Read more [1]