A Privacy Analysis of Google and Yandex Safe Browsing

Thomas Gerbet 1 Amrit Kumar 2 Cédric Lauradoux 2
2 PRIVATICS - Privacy Models, Architectures and Tools for the Information Society
Inria Grenoble - Rhône-Alpes, CITI - CITI Centre of Innovation in Telecommunications and Integration of services
Abstract : Google and Yandex Safe Browsing are popular services included in many web browsers to prevent users from visiting phishing or malware website links. If Safe Browsing services protect their users from losing private information, they also require that their servers receive browsing information on the very same users. In this paper, we present an analysis of Google and Yandex Safe Browsing services from a privacy perspective. We quantify the privacy provided by these services by analyzing the possibility of re-identifying a URL visited by a client. We hence challenge Google’s privacy policies where they claim that Google can not recover URLs visited by its users. Our analysis and experimental results show that Google and Yandex Safe Browsing can potentially be used as a tool to track specific classes of individuals. Additionally, our investigations on the data currently included in Yandex Safe Browsing provides a concrete set of URLs/domains that can be re-identified without much effort.
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Thomas Gerbet, Amrit Kumar, Cédric Lauradoux. A Privacy Analysis of Google and Yandex Safe Browsing. [Research Report] RR-8686, INRIA. 2015. ⟨hal-01120186v4⟩

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