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Reload this page Internet Browsers

Here are my notes on internet browsers. Let me know what you find helpful or missing.

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Topics:

  • Opening Browsers
  • User Agents
  • The Browser Wars
  • Storage
  • Security Vulnerabilities
  • Browser Blocking Utilities
  • Timeout Settings
  • Your comments???
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    Internet Browsers

    Opening Browser Windows

      When you click the Explorer application icon or from Program Files, an additional "IEXPLORE.EXE" process is created. This takes up more memory. Do this if you need another session, as if you are another user.

      However, when you pull down File > New > Window, you create another Task for the same process and session.

      Normally, only one version of IE can be installed on a Windows machine. However, standalone IE programs are available in zip files from Skyzyx.

      Microsoft states in its support Article ID 298618 that Internet Explorer 7 does not support the download of files over 2 GB in size via HTTP.




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    User Agents for Compliance Mode

      The first line of a HTML document is specified by ISO 8879. XHTML 1.1 is more recent than HTML 4.01.

      From a full list with discussion here.

      XHTML 1.1 should begine with:

        <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.1//EN"
            "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml11/DTD/xhtml11.dtd">
        

      XHTML Strict should begine with:

        <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN"
            "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">
        

      XHTML with Framesets should begin with:

        <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Frameset//EN"
            "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-frameset.dtd">
        

      HTML 4.01 Transitional with Framesets should begin with:

        <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Frameset//EN"
           "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/frameset.dtd">
        

      HTML Transitional from v3 should begine with:

        <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"
           "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">
        

      HTML 4.01 Strict should begine with:

        <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN"
           "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd">
        

      XHTML Transitional should begine with:

        <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN"
           "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
        

        <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en" xml:lang="en">
        

      XHTML

      Beginning XLST 2.0: From Novice to Professional, by Jeni Tennison (Apress, 2005, ISBN 1590593243).

      Beginning XML with DOM and Ajax: From Novice to Professional, by Sas Jacobs (Apress, 2006, ISBN 1590596765).


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    Browser Wars

     

    tool Surf the net from the Anonymizer.com website.

    For $25/year, Proxify allows additional settings to hide your IP address so you can access websites from behind overly restrictive corporate firewalls.

    There is, at least in the U.S., a TV ad for Microsoft's Internet Explorer 4.0 package which uses the musical theme from Mozart's Requiem. “Where do you want to go today?” is the cheery line on the screen. Meanwhile, the chorus sings in Latin “Confutatis maledictis, flammis acribus addictis," which translates to “The damned and accursed are convicted to flames of hell.”

    A website external to this site Counter Exploitation (cexx.org) thoroughly investigates adware, spyware, foistware, etc. that slows you down, crashes your computer, corrupts your hard disk, robs your privacy, etc. Please help them with their fine work.

    webpage article Spyware: Do You Know Who's Watching You - article from the 2001 CPSR Essay Contest.

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    Netscape & Mozilla browsers

      On January 23, 1998, under pressure from the open source community and market conditions, Netscape Communications announced that the Netscape Communicator package and the source code would be free. Their developer source code was released on March 31, 1998 to a new new virtual organization -- Mozilla.org consisting of many developers working together across the Internet developing source code based on standards compliance, performance, and portability.

      From Mozilla.org''s Cross-Platform Front-End (XPFE) project emerged XUL (pronounced like "cool"), now called the XPToolkit project to make lightweight cross-platform cross-device user interfaces as easy to customize as Web pages.

      The new Netscape/Mozilla browser were constructed out of the XUL language.

      This enabled new features, such as downloadable chrome -- themes users can download to decorate the look and feel of their browser.

      Gecko, the layout rendering engine embedded in Mozilla, parses XUL to create the user interface on the fly.

      The namespace http://www.mozilla.org/keymaster/gatekeeper/there.is.only.xul.

      XUL uses event-driven Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) (not looping statements and conditional operations of XSL) to describe the "style" and behavior of XUL user interfaces.

      JavaScript is still the "glue" for event handling.

      The XML Binding Language (XBL) uses XML to create reusable composite widgets. XBL adds anonymous content, properties, and implementation methods to XML elements.

      The jXUL open source project creates a Java library for translating XUL into Java-based user interfaces.

      Essential XUL Programming (New York John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (US), 2001) by Bullard, Vaughn.; Smith, Kevin T.; Daconta, Michael C.

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    Where Browsers Store Stuff

      What you type in the Address edit box IE6 stores in Windows Registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\TypedURLs

      In my Windows 95 computer:

      • Netscape Navigator stores graphics in C:\Program Files\Netscape\Users\username\Cache.
      • Microsoft Internet Explorer stores links visited in C:\Windows\History.
      • Windows stores shortcuts to the most recented used files viewed in C:\Windows\Recent
      • Cookies are stored in C:\Windows\Cookies and also C:\Windows\Temporary Internet Files

    • In IE4+, the location of the home page can be changed with a .reg file which changes your registry key:

        REGEDIT4

        [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]
        "Start Page"="http://www.msn.com/"

    • In IE4+, Scripting can be disabled with a .reg file which changes your registry key:

        REGEDIT4

        [HKEY_CURRENT_USER \Software \Microsoft \Windows \CurrentVersion \Internet Settings\Zones\3]
        "1400"=dword:00000003

      Value 00000000 enables it again.

      Webmonkey tutorial on programming Javascript for cookies

     

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    Set this at top of window. Browser Tricks (and Security Vulnerabilities)

    Set this at top of window. Netscape Navigator (NN)

      The most recent URLs you typed into the Location: field are stored so you can later click on the arrow at the right and select them from a list. This list is stored in the Registry under Subkey HKEY_CURRENT_USER, Hive Software/Netscape/Netscape Navigator/URL History keyname. Leave the value names alone and clear out the Value Data.

      If the colors of a Web page gives you a migraine, set Navigator to use your own default colors instead by checking the box for "Always use my colors, overriding document." In NN3 the box is under Options/General Preferences/Color. In NN4 the box is under Edit/Preferences/Appearance/Color.

    • With Navigator 2.0 or 3.0, you can automatically check bookmarks to highlight sites which have changed since you last visited them. Select Bookmarks/Go To Bookmarks; in the bookmarks window select File/What's New? You can check all your bookmarked sites or update them selectively by highlighting the ones you want to check and then choosing Selected Bookmarks. Navigator will highlight the changed sites.
    • With Navigator, if you type about:global in the Location: box, Navigator will display a list of sites you have visited. Similarly, type about:plugins for what is installed on your computer. Type about:cache, about:memory-cache, or about:image-cache to get information about cache status and memory use.

      Both MSIE and NN:

      Is there a way to add page breaks which are only recognized when printing a HTML document?
     

      IE Shortcut keys:
      SPACE bar to page down
      SPACE+Shift to page up

      ALT+SPACE+C to Close,
      ALT+SPACE+M to Move,
      ALT+SPACE+S to Size,
      ALT+SPACE+N to Minimize,
      ALT+SPACE+X to maximize the current window.

      ALT+SPACE+R to Restore, 

      Instead of clicking on the Back and Forward buttons, you can give your mouse a rest and use Alt and the Right arrow key to move forward, and Alt and the Left arrow key to move back.

      More keyboard shortcuts

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    Set this at top of window. Browser Blocking Utilities

      Anti-virus software such as McAfee is not enough. I use a personal firewall - Zone Alarm Pro to block annoying pop-up ads and (more importantly), attempts by robots on the net randoming probing for computers vulnerable for being taken over.

      Spyware

      Spyware, also called adware, is commonly defined as any software that covertly gathers user information through the user's Internet connection without his or her knowledge, usually for advertising purposes. Spyware applications can be bundled as a hidden component of freeware or shareware programs that can be downloaded from the Internet. Once installed, the spyware monitors user activity on the Internet and transmits that information in the background to someone else.

      Alexa Toolbar, Bargain Buddy, Bonzi Buddy, Brilliant Digital, Bullguard Popup Ad, CasinoOnNet, Clip Genie, Common Name, Cydoor, Download Receiver, Downloadware, Eaccelaration, Hotbar, IEPlugin, Internet Washer, MyWay Toolbar, Similar Singles, Srng, VirtualBouncer, WildTangent, nCase, vx2 (Transponder)

      Annoying Techniques

      Among the unethical ways in the Spyware Encyclopedia:

      • Probe Tools look for vulnerabilities on your system that a hacker can exploit.
      • Adware forces advertisements to be viewed.
      • Spyware
      • Keyloggers steal passwords and other confidential data used for identity theft.
      • Trojans enable access to your PC without your knowledge. Examples: 2nd-thought
      • Active X Configuration
      • Scumware
      • Dialers make calls to hacker sites
      • Malware intends to do damage to your computer
      • Data Mining
      • Parasites uses your hard disk space and network connection to distribute data or to mount distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
      • Toolbars - Alexa
      • Drive-By Download
      • Tracking Cookies
      • Spyware Registry Keys
      • Browser Hijackers/BHO's Spyware plug-ins (such as bookedspace) inject/pop-up ads in IE browsers by exploiting the Browser Helper Object (BHO) component IE loads on startup. Because this technology can monitor and report on user actions, it can search pages viewed and replace banner advertisements with other ads. Since BHO interacts with Windows Explorer, the spyware can also change the home page and download and install software (BargainBuddy, nCase, and eBates, etc.)

        Sysinfo.org list of BHO applications

        The hijacker changes your start page or search page or add Internet shortcuts to your favorites folder without asking - to force people to visit a web site of the hijacker's choice. This presumably artificially inflates that web site's traffic for higher advertising revenues. Don't buy any product advertised this way

      Caution! Beware that malware offer programs to remove themselves, at a price. So they are practicing extortion!
      Again, don't buy any product advertized this way

      Shareware Anti-malware

      Shareware programs are effective, albeit a little more work to download and install them all, since they webpage article each have a different role

      tool Cloudmark Anti-Fraud Toolbar browser plug-in (free beta version) blocks sites and IP addresses on their blacklist of known sources of malfeasance (spammers and those operating phising schemes) identified by the 1.3 million Cloudmark SafetyBar users who pay the $40 a year for MS Outlook.

      tool Comodo's TrustToolbar relies on a whitelist of known trusted sites identified by "the internet's only identity assurance infrastructure", idauthority.com, which researches the companies behind sites.

      Phishing.net's Clear Search Anti-Phishing. Caution! Beware of posers. Memory Watcher, which claims to help you watch your memory, actually installs the Peper Trojan. Hidden in the middle of its disclosure:

        "By installing the Memory Watcher Software on your computer, you understand that: (i) Several ADVERTISING CONSOLES may be launched for the duration of time you spend online."

      Among the commercial for-fee software:

        tool $39.95 Trojan Hunter from Mischel detects trojans which can't be seen in Task Manager because they inject themselves inside valid processes. Recommended by Ian Richards' anti-trojan-software-reviews.com

        Caution! None of these program could detect/clean the IE hijacker which directs all web pages to (spotresults.com, azjmp.com). The pernicious pest reinstalls DSO (Data Shared Objects) after Spybot attempts to delete it. This is because the pest exists in memory The DSOStop2.exe fixes the registry keys for signed and unsigned ActiveX pests.

        After boot up in Safe Mode to delete these hidden files:

      • C:\WINNT\vul.exe
      • C:\WINNT\system32\NuzK63G.exe -->trojan
      • C:\WINNT\system32\sccmgr.exe
      • C:\WINNT\system32\wtssvtr.exe sccmgr.exe

        tool The uninstall for the peper trojan must be run while you're online.

        tool Purity scan uninstall

        Some viruses change their name. Search for file name *cpy.dll in Windows/System32. But this has to be done in Safe Mode with no Internet connection.

        Other precautions:

      • Empty the TIF (Temporary Internet Files) by right clicking the IE icon on the desktop and choose Properties. Click Delete Files on the General Tab - place a check in the Delete all offline content box and then press OK
      • Delete all the files in (and any subfolders of) the C:\Windows\Temp\ folder

        http://www.onlinepcfix.com/spyware/spyware.htm
        spyferret.com

        tool $30/year SpySweeper.exe from Webroot Software which is promoteed by this review, which leaves out Trojan Hunter.
        tool Pest Patrol is free to scan, pay $40 to activate removal functions.
        tool Freeware Bazooka Adware and Spyware Scanner

      webpage article Spy Ware Info.com rs detailed advice.
      webpage article Annoyances.org

      tool Winsock2 LSP-Fix to select inetadpt.dll and move all instances of it to the Remove (RHS) side. This is a rogue Layered Service Providers (LSP) inserted into Window's TCP/IP handler to intercept outbound data and divert it elsewhere.

      Zone Alarm Configuration

      Zone Alarm can be annoying because it does not offer a familiar Windows interface with pull down menus.

      When I tried to open an Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) file, I got “Page blocked” instead. But instead of turning off the program entirely to get to a page it blocks (very dangerous), I figured out how to better control the program. I change Zone Alarm configuration temporarily.

      In the Privacy tab, click Custom in the Mobile Code Control section. I uncheck “Block mime-type integrated objects”. This is because Adobe acrobat pdf files are a special mime-type.

     

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    Set this at top of window. Timout Settings

      There are several reasons why you may wait a long time for a response:
      1. Others sharing your connection are sucking up bandwidth downloading mp3 files or photos.
      2. Your ISP is servicing too many subscribers at once.
      3. The internet connection you are using is bogged down by flooding attacks and spam.
      4. The site's IP address was not registered to a recognized DNS server.
      5. THe site's firewall has blocked your ip address.
      6. The site's DNS server is not working.
      7. The site's telecom lines are overloaded
      8. The site's servers are overloaded

      If you receive a timeout error such as the following, it may be the site's server or your brower setting.

        Microsoft Internet Explorer error 10060 connection timed out.
        -or-
        Internet Explorer cannot open the Internet site web address.
        -or-
        The operation timed out.
        -or-
        The page cannot be displayed. Cannot find server or DNS Error.

      So that you do not wait endlessly for the server to come back with data when the server has a problem, Internet Explorer imposes a time-out limit for the server to return data. (five minutes for versions 4.0 and 4.01)

      In Internet Explorer 4.01 Service Pack 1 or later (IE 5, 5.5, 6), you can change the timeout by adding a ReceiveTimeout DWORD value in registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ Software\ Microsoft\ Windows\ CurrentVersion\ Internet Settings with a data value of (number of seconds)*1000. To set a 2 minute timeout duration, set the ReceiveTimeout data value to (2*60*1000) = 120000. Restart your computer.

     

      MS KB Q181050

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    Set this at top of window. Security Settings

      SSL was developed by Netscape Communications Corporation in 1994 to secure transactions over the World Wide Web.

      Soon after, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) began work to develop a standard protocol. They used SSL 3.0 as the basis for the TLS 1.0 (Transparent LAN service) protocol defined in their RFC 2246 published Jan. 1999, with extensions updated by RFC 3546 on June 2003.

      How TLS/SSL works

        During the authentication process, a TLS/SSL client sends a message to a TLS/SSL server. The server responds with a message that the server needs to authenticate itself. The client and server perform an additional exchange of session keys, and the authentication dialog ends. The symmetric encryption keys established during the authentication process is used to secure communications.

        Clients confirm the validity of a serverís credentials with a trusted root certification authorityís (CAís) certificates loaded on the web server machine. So users don't need to establish accounts before they create a secure connection with a server.

        The sender create a one-way hash key from the data. This is sent along with the data.

        TLS uses the Message Authentication Code (HMAC) algorithm which is more secure than the SSL Message Authentication Code (MAC) algorithm. So TLS is used by public web sites that need to be highly secure, such as the website to submit Top Secret applicantions

        TLS doesn't use Fortezza algorithms because they are proprietary and thus not open for public review.

      One advantage of TLS is that it accepts intermediary authority certificates, whereas SSL prompts the user for a certificate all the way back to the root CA.

      The biggest disadvantages of using TLS 1.0:

      • Browsers sets it OFF by default, so every user must go into browser settings to enable it.
      • Non-Microsoft web servers (such as Apache/Linux) have to be manually updated to include Microsoft TLS 1.0 support.
      • If TLS 1.0 support is turned on in Netscape 6.x, it displays a red padlock on secure web pages that are not TLS 1.0 compliant. This "bug" or "unintended feature" does not mean the pages are unsecure. It simply means that they use non-Microsoft security routines.
      • webpage article Netscape 6 Release Notes Known Problems

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    Mozilla Firefox Extensions

    Canvas Tag

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