Thursday, January 27

What is Cache Partitioning? Does it hamper your privacy?

The web browser is made up of several moving parts, and each part works together to give the user the experience they want. The browser’s database is one of these components and is responsible for storing data locally on the computer to provide a faster, personalized browsing experience.

This database is used to store cookies and other identifying information, such as. B. connection data, which are necessary for the proper functioning of the websites. It also has a cache that is responsible for storing websites. This makes websites load faster, which improves the user experience.

While caching provides a faster user experience, it brings security risks that are eliminated by cache partitioning, but does cache partitioning take away your privacy?

In this article, we discuss cache sharing technologies and the threats they pose to privacy.

Also read : What is pre-rendering in Chrome? Privacy Matters

What is caching?

Every website you visit consists of different images and fonts. These images and fonts must be downloaded from different servers, and network requests are required to access this data.

Every network request your browser makes increases the loading time of the site. To reduce this overhead, developers developed the concept of caching, which stores resources on the local machine to reduce page load time. Another website can access these resources without making network requests to their servers, which improves web browsing.

When you visit multiple pages of a website, your browser saves the company logo or other required elements on each page of the site. This reduces the rendering time of pages because the browser doesn’t have to reclaim these resources because they are present in the system itself.

Caching is also used to cache font libraries and other frame libraries such as. B. jquery of the content distribution networks, which are necessary for the correct display of the pages. Storing these libraries in the cache allows websites to load faster because most websites use similar libraries, and if the library is present in the system, the browser does not need to reclaim the resources.

Also read : What is DNS cache poisoning? How can I protect my PC?

Caching vulnerabilities

While caching has many benefits, it leads to a number of security weaknesses that can be exploited for cross-site tracking and search attacks. Here is a brief overview of these vulnerabilities

  • Tracking the user’s browser history : Any attacker can find out a user’s browsing history by examining the data in the browser’s cache. Based on the elements in the cache, an attacker can draw conclusions about the user’s browsing habits.
  • Surveillance on the spot : The cache can be used to store cookie-like identifiers that can be used by third parties for cross-site tracking.
  • Attacking the side channel: When data is cached in your browser, requests are processed faster, and the attacker can use the difference in response time to reveal personal information.

Also read : What are the L1, L2 and L3 memories of the CPU? How does it work?

As the name implies, cache partitioning divides the browser’s cache so that only a specific website can access cached resources. This prevents other websites from accessing the data stored in the cache, thus protecting user data.

To accomplish this task, Chrome uses network key isolation, which creates a unique key for the browser’s cache resources. This isolation technique uses high-level site data and current iframe information to create a unique identifier that prevents other sites from accessing the cached information.

While cache partitioning offers more security compared to the monolithic approach to caching, it also has some drawbacks.

  • Slow rendering of web pages : Since individual web pages cannot use the cached libraries, multiple requests must be made to retrieve them. This increases the site load time if the libraries are not stored on the site server and depend on the content delivery network. Google fonts have also lost much of their performance due to splitting cache, and it’s better to host your fonts than to pull them from the Content Delivery Network.
  • Privacy issues : Since different websites cannot use libraries stored locally on your system, whenever you visit a website that uses a hosted library, the browser sends a network request to the CDN servers to retrieve the resources. Your IP information and other sensitive data is sent to the CDN servers when you request a library.

To protect against cache partitioning, you can use extensions that create a local CDN emulation on your system and serve libraries locally, or you can use the Chrome alternative.

Also read : How do browsers work? The science behind creating web pages

A technophile driven by curiosity. A bibliophile who likes to travel. An engineering graduate who loves programming and writing about new technologies. We cannot survive without coffee.

You can contact Nischay via email: [email protected].

frequently asked questions

What is cache partitioning?

On Android, the system cache area where temporary system files are stored. The system cache partition is located in the /cache folder, which is separate from the individual application caches and remains inaccessible without a routine connection to your Android device. … Mostly system updates.

How can I disable the cache in Chrome?

Google Chrome : Disabling caching – Technical tools

Is the Chrome cache encrypted?

Chrome is the most secure browser and gives you the ability to control how it uses and stores data. … Additionally, data stored locally in Chrome will be encrypted if the underlying operating system supports it. For example, Chrome OS encrypts all locally stored data by default.

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