Security and user privacy protections included in browsers, ad blockers, and anti-tracking extensions are not as secure as everyone believes, a team of three academics from the Catholic University in Leuven, Belgium (KU Leuven) have revealed.
Researchers looked at how browsers prevent third-party services —such as advertising companies— from tracking users via cross-site requests and persistent cookies.
The KU Leuven team developed a custom framework that allowed them to test these cookie-based anti-tracking features in seven browsers, 31 ad blocker extensions, and 15 anti-tracking extensions.
The research team says that for each tested browser or extension they found at least one technique that can bypass their defenses.
Results a scan of the top 10,000 most popular sites showed that no website is currently using any of these techniques to circumvent browser or ad blocker tracking protections.