back to article Chrome for the slurp-weary: Cookie-binning Aviator browser arrives

Security developers have released a stripped-down privacy-friendly browser, Aviator, based on the open source browser core Chromium as used by Google Chrome. WhiteHat Security's Aviator browser has built-in functionality designed to block ads and tracking by default. In addition, Flash and Java are click-to-play, a …

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  1. Cliff

    Good idea

    If only to raise the argument about why it's a good idea, and get other browser manufacturers to join in with the privacy side of things more easily as opposed to buried deep in the advanced settings.

  2. I Am Spartacus
    Alert

    YAWN. I seem to remember...

    ... that this was what Chrome was offering when it was first released. And before that it was Firefox. It seems that every browser starts off lean, mean, fast and security concious. Then over time, as it matures, like a lot of us, it gets a little fat round the centre. Then it starts munching on cookies (like me again!) and eventually ends up fat, rotund, and it starts to loosen its security belt.

    I am betting that in 3 years we will be here again saying the same thing about Aviator.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: YAWN. I seem to remember...

      Indeed. It has only taken, what, 5 years for Chrome to even consider offering the functionality of Firefox + NoScript? Good job!

      Not a Chrome fan thanks to a stripped-down UI, and if Firefox continues down that primrose path as well I will have to seek out a new browser. They continue to bloat their wares yet remove a user's [convenient] ability to turn the new bloat off.

      1. FrankAlphaXII

        Re: YAWN. I seem to remember...

        Longer than that. NoScript has been around since 2005.

        To be fair, Chrome has only been released for five years. Mozilla had NoScript available within a year of the 1.0 release in 2004, though do you really expect the world's biggest advertising company to make it harder for themselves to advertise to users on the browser that it develops?

    2. Captain Hogwash Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: YAWN. I seem to remember...

      "WhiteHat Security's Aviator browser has built-in functionality designed to block ads and tracking by default" I'm pretty sure Chrome never offered that.

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  4. sabroni Silver badge

    you say third party cookies are blocked

    so I'm inferring that first party cookies aren't. So why would that impact a sites behaviour? The only cookies a site sees are cookies that belong to it....

    1. monkeyfish

      Re: you say third party cookies are blocked

      If it is that security concious then it might delete the first party cookies on exit. I had firefox setup like that for a while, but with all the 'we use cookies' pop-up messages (I'm looking you too reg), it was an absolute PITA.

      1. Malcolm 1

        Re: you say third party cookies are blocked

        Irritating Cookie consent banners are the result of the EU e-Privacy directive. Make of that what you will.

        1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

          Re: you say third party cookies are blocked

          @Malcolm1

          Perhaps they should be compelled to offer you a cookie that says I don't want no more cookies.

      2. MrWibble

        Re: you say third party cookies are blocked

        "If it is that security concious then it might delete the first party cookies on exit. I had firefox setup like that for a while, but with all the 'we use cookies' pop-up messages (I'm looking you too reg), it was an absolute PITA."

        I still do that. And use ad-block to block the cookie pop-ups on sites I frequent.

  5. Herer

    iron

    SRWare's Iron browser offers a version of Chromium without all the Google tentacles on the Windows platform, and has done for ages. adblock.ini is supported, not so sure if it goes as far as this browser for added privacy but I believe so

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: iron

      I tried it for a while - great idea - not sure if it's been updated for a while though.

      1. Stevey

        Re: iron

        last windows version released last friday (18-10-13 )

        I believe 'auto updating' was one of the things they turned off - the idea being that it shouldn't be doing stuff in the background that the user isn't aware of..

        I've used it for a while, not seen any issues with it, but dunno if it does quite as much privacy-wise as aviator claims to do.

  6. John 110
    FAIL

    I beg to differ...

    "Not a single browser vendor offers ad blocking, instead relying on optional third-party plugins"

    Opera used to, before it went all chromium. Ghod knows what it does now...

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: I beg to differ...

      Midori offers built-in ad-blocking - it's not on by default, but it's a simple setting to change.

  7. Graham Marsden
    Alert

    Interesting...

    ... not least because someone from El Reg asked me to stop plugging Ad Blockers in my comments because "we have to make a living"...

  8. JDX Gold badge

    Shock news

    Companies don't want to cut off their revenue sources. Who'd have thunk it, eh?

    While a good point about tracking is made, it seems silly to suggest commerical browser makers "should" provide ad blockers. Adverts are, and always have been, part of the web.

    Providing a way for 3rd-parties to create ad blockers is enough IMO.

    1. Michael Thibault

      Re: Shock news

      @ JDX

      "Adverts ... always have been ... part of the web."

      Historical revisionism. Or, you're much younger than I am.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Secure? D'oh!

    Sounds like their secure new browser builds in about half (or less) the security measures that I throw at a new browser within the first 5 minutes I use it. What about https everywhere? Automated cookie & flash cookie destruction? Link scanning for phishing sites? Does their adblock remove social media buttons or have advanced malware protection?

    Why is Java even enabled by default? Java can be disabled 99% of the time, and enabled for that one special occasion when you need it.

    Promoting this browser as "inherently secure" is a disservice to users, most of whom would be much more secure with a few simple Chrome or Firefox extensions and a couple of smart security settings.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: Secure? D'oh!

      But how many users even know how to set up what you just described (I don't!)...

      1. Michael Thibault
        Boffin

        Re: Secure? D'oh!

        @ James

        Grosso modo:

        Rifle the menus of your browser (something you should do in any application that's new to you)—not to 'grok' everything, but to note, in passing, what possibilities there may be. One of the menu items, almost certainly, will relate to extensions/add-ons/plug-ins (remember Settings/Options/Preferences? Same same, but different).

        Select the item most-likely. Follow your nose, taking hints from things that you read online about security and privacy online. You are, after all, using a program the principle purpose of which is to search on-line and to access those resources references to which you locate in your searching. The central repository where you download, or from which you install, add-ons, will almost certainly have a 'most-popular' listing. And each add-on will come with a description and user ratings...

        When you install an extension or add-on, pursue it through its preferences or settings until you've dug down into the very bowels of the thing——not to 'grok' everything, but to note, in passing, what possibilities there may be. Hit the obvious buttons and controls. Come back to it later and play with the others. Choose to have any release notes displayed on update (updates are typically automatic). Visit the developer's website on those occasions, and read. Prowl around.

        Once you've got a few add-ons installed, enabled, and tweaked a bit, make a checklist of what you've got installed outside the program. You'd do well to consider the mix of your priorities (e.g. privacy, security, ease of use, etc.). More is not better; better is better—so mercilessly disable/remove any that misbehave. Spread the love, etc..

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Secure? D'oh!

      I did learn one good trick from RTFA - the browser is using a new Chrome extension called "Disconnect", which is an open-source project designed to keep tracking cookies from communicating with each other about your browsing habits. It's got some shared features with Ghostery and Adblock. Seems worth trying out.

    3. Richard 81

      Re: Secure? D'oh!

      "Why is Java even enabled by default? Java can be disabled 99% of the time, and enabled for that one special occasion when you need it."

      Unless you're in certain lines of work (e.g. medicinal chemistry), in which case that "one special occasion" is all day, every day.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: Why is Java even enabled by default?

        Well, going by the second paragraph of the article, it's "enabled" because it's "click to play" (so doesn't run until you say so). Surely more convenient than having to find the "enable java" setting, and more granular (only runs on the page you click, not all the tabs that are open).

  10. Buzzword

    Referrer

    "The technology strips out referring URLs across domains to protect its users' privacy."

    That'll break a fair few websites, based on my experience on having tried to disable it before.

    1. Richard 81

      Re: Referrer

      Pretty much all of them, I think.

  11. RPF

    Nice one.

    I've just ditched the Chocolate-factory's Chrome for Aviator and it works well.

    I like the "Protected"/"Not protected" flag; pretty user-friendly all round (and compatible with most extensions).

    Good job and thanks for the info, El Reg!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    48MB for a stripped down version ?

    Does it include a pdf reader ?

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