Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Google's latest Chrome update will block cross-site tracking

Today, Google began rolling out a new Chrome feature that will give users some assurance of safety when surfing the Internet on the Chrome browser by disabling cross-site browser tracking. 
Google's latest Chrome update will block cross-site tracking
Wonder why an item you viewed on one website or something you once searched for keeps following you in the form of ads? Cross-site browser tracking is a way developers of advertising companies achieve this and they do so by uniquely identifying you through a string of letters and numbers stored as cookies in your browser.

Last year, the company publicly made known their plans of addressing some of the several issues associated with cookie vulnerabilities and in the process, discovered a few bugs including a major one Apple's Safari Browser on both iOS and OSX (Mac) allowing users to be tracked (fixed in the latest iOS 13.3.1)

In the new Chrome 80 update, Google will automatically set the default parameter of a new cookie attribute they introduced last year called the  "SameSite" attribute to "a safer option". This will ensure that the browsers will only accept 1st-party cookies -- in simple terms, only cookies from the current website will be served, leaving any others from other sites (having different website addresses) unless the destination website uses "safe HTTP methods." The aim is to protect user data, your most valuable asset on the internet. 

Google began warning developers of this action since Chrome version 76 last year and these settings will majorly affect websites that use third-party cookies and fail to properly set the right parameter for the SameSite Cookie attribute.  Though the feature is ready in the latest version of Chrome, no immediate action will be taken yet as the tech giant is giving a "grace period" (presumably less than a month) to transition. While some may argue that Google has given developers so much time to transition,  I believe this is a wise move since it will significantly break many sites. 

More