Brave to stop websites from port scanning visitors – wait that hasn’t been done by everyone yet?!

The Brave browser will take action against websites that snoop on visitors by scanning their open Internet ports or accessing other network resources that can expose personal information.

Starting in version 1.54, Brave will automatically block website port scanning, a practice that a surprisingly large number of sites were found engaging in a few years ago. According to this list compiled in 2021 by a researcher who goes by the handle G666g1e, 744 websites scanned visitors’ ports, most or all without providing notice or seeking permission in advance. eBay, Chick-fil-A, Best Buy, Kroger, and Macy’s were among the offending websites.

Some sites use similar tactics in an attempt to fingerprint visitors so they can be re-identified each time they return, even if they delete browser cookies. By running scripts that access local resources on the visiting devices, the sites can detect unique patterns in a visiting browser. Sometimes there are benign reasons a site will access local resources, such as detecting insecurities or allowing developers to test their websites. Often, however, there are more abusive or malicious motives involved.

The new version of Brave will curb the practice. By default, no website will be able to access local resources. More advanced users who want a particular site to have such access can add it to an allow list.


Brave will continue to use filter list rules to block scripts and sites known to abuse localhost resources. Additionally, the browser will include an allow list that gives the green light to sites known to access localhost resources for user-benefiting reasons.

“Brave has chosen to implement the localhost permission in this multistep way for several reasons,” developers of the browser wrote. “Most importantly, we expect that abuse of localhost resources is far more common than user-benefiting cases, and we want to avoid presenting users with permission dialogs for requests we expect will only cause harm.”

The scanning of ports and other activities that access local resources is typically done using JavaScript that’s hosted on the website and runs inside a visitor’s browser. A core web security principle known as the same origin policy bars JavaScript hosted by one Internet domain from accessing the data or resources of a different domain. This prevents malicious Site A from being able to obtain credentials or other personal data associated with Site B.

The same origin policy, however, doesn’t prevent websites from interacting in some ways with a visitor’s localhost IP address of


“As far as we can tell, Brave is the only browser that will block requests to localhost resources from both secure and insecure public sites, while still maintaining a compatibility path for sites that users trust (in the form of the discussed localhost permission)” the Brave post said.


Source: Brave aims to curb practice of websites that port scan visitors | Ars Technica

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