Q&A Browser privacy: clearing storage+cookies addons

Amahl Farouk

Level 1
Jan 11, 2021
34
156
What are your thoughts?

I am using a DNS-based filter to catch most prevalent privacy offenders and have a second layer at the browser level (Cookie Autodelete with everything enabled - 1 second cleanup) to clear everything for random surfing and just whitelisting websites that I use frequently.

Are there any privacy benefits compared to using the Edge built-in clear on exit for cache+cookies (again with whitelist)?

A few years ago when I was using Firefox, there was a Auto-container plugin that isolated cookies and storage, but from what I understand chromium-based browsers still have a some work to do in regard to cookie isolation by default.

My concern would be malicious javascript that could track history based on storage+cookies and worst-case would be cookie hijackers. Haven't done too much research into how the browser isolated/protects these features but I am curious about you're opinions and setups that you use. Any feedback is appreciated. :emoji_beer:
 

TairikuOkami

Level 31
Verified
Content Creator
May 13, 2017
2,048
10,351
Close the browser with the cleanup on exit, then open it and check edge://settings/siteData If you have anything left (exceptions excluded), well there is your answer.
I perform a manual cleanup (+Wise Disk Cleaner) on top of what you have mentioned, a browser can not clean itself, when it is running/closing, no matter, how hard it tries.

Code:
taskkill /im msedge.exe /f

fsutil usn deletejournal /d /n c:

del "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\*history*." /s /f /q
del "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Current App Session" /s /f /q
del "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\LOG" /s /f /q
del "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\LOG.old" /s /f /q
del "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Login Data" /s /f /q
del "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Login Data-journal" /s /f /q
del "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Media History" /s /f /q
del "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Media History-journal" /s /f /q
del "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Network Action Predictor" /s /f /q
del "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Network Action Predictor-journal" /s /f /q
del "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Network Persistent State" /s /f /q
del "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Reporting and NEL" /s /f /q
del "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Reporting and NEL-journal" /s /f /q
del "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\QuotaManager" /s /f /q
del "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\QuotaManager-journal" /s /f /q
del "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Shortcuts" /s /f /q
del "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Shortcuts-journal" /s /f /q
del "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Token Bindings" /s /f /q
del "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Token Bindings-journal" /s /f /q
del "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Top Sites" /s /f /q
del "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Top Sites-journal" /s /f /q
del "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Visited Links" /s /f /q
rd "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\AutofillStrikeDatabase" /s /q
rd "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\BudgetDatabase" /s /q
rd "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Cache" /s /q
rd "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Code Cache" /s /q
rd "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Collections" /s /q
rd "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\data_reduction_proxy_leveldb" /s /q
rd "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\databases" /s /q
rd "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\File System" /s /q
rd "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\GPUCache" /s /q
rd "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\IndexedDB" /s /q
rd "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Local Storage" /s /q
rd "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Media Cache" /s /q
rd "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Platform Notifications" /s /q
rd "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Service Worker" /s /q
rd "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Session Storage" /s /q
rd "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Sessions" /s /q
rd "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\shared_proto_db" /s /q
rd "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Site Characteristics Database" /s /q
rd "%LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\VideoDecodeStats" /s /q

start "" /wait "%ProgramFiles(x86)%\Wise\Wise Disk Cleaner\WiseDiskCleaner.exe" -a -adv
 
F

ForgottenSeer 85179

Cleaning Cookies doesn't improve anything but make it worse.
Cookies only storing data/ settings on user side while nowadays tracking run on server side. Cleaning removes all your site settings which clear your Opt-In's, so it reduces your privacy on re-visit sites.
Using different browser profiles is a much better solution.

Sites can get your visited sites with simple CSS. Using profiles helps here too.
Anyway, malicious scripts aren't so powerful in Chromium based browsers. Using extensions reduce your protection.
 

Amahl Farouk

Level 1
Jan 11, 2021
34
156
Thank you both for you thoughts. I usually like to keep things minimal in terms of extensions, so this is somewhat good news (one less extension to worry about :D )

I guess a medium or hard-mode uBlock Origin setup will reduce the entry point of much of javascript tracking that is left over from DNS filtering.

@SecurityNightmares I'm already using your suggested profiles for my LAN/Banking stuff (where I don't have any extensions) and wanted to figure out a decent security/privacy balance for the Default profile used for general surfing.
 
Last edited:
F

ForgottenSeer 85179

and wanted to figure out a decent security/privacy balance for the Default profile used for general surfing.
For default profile you can set Edge tracking protection to Strict, enable some flags (these are enabled over all profiles!) and avoid extensions.
Using this combi with NextDNS, MD and H_C / SimpleHardening with ConfigureDefender & FirewallHardening is a very secure setup and block 99% Malware (y)
 

Andrew3000

Level 9
Verified
Malware Tester
Feb 8, 2016
402
4,702
I use Cookie AutoDelete with these settings:
TLDR; Any site that is not whitelisted will be cleaned after 15 seconds.
1610823713914.png
 

Amahl Farouk

Level 1
Jan 11, 2021
34
156
@Trismer @Andrew3000 Thanks. I was using the same settings with cleanup on tab close after 1 second. My concern is mostly on the cached fingerprinting js (privacy) and javascript cookie hijacking (security) side of the discussion.

In my opinion, the whole privacy debate is mostly about limiting exposure, as anonymity is nearly impossible nowadays even with Tor, where security is pretty bad.

Are you using this setup in combination with other privacy/security hardening changes?

I feel like the less-is-more approach would be best, if only Edge would offer power users a bit more granular control over it's privacy features, akin to what Brave or uBlock/Umatrix offers, it would make it the perfect browser for advanced users.
 
F

ForgottenSeer 85179

I feel like the less-is-more approach would be best, if only Edge would offer power users a bit more granular control over it's privacy features, akin to what Brave or uBlock/Umatrix offers, it would make it the perfect browser for advanced users.
This is what many people think and community's like PrivacyToolsIO spread but instead the opposite is true.
With every non-stock setting you make and extension you install, the more you're unique. That's why privacy settings need to be done at (default) browser level like Safari does.

- You block all Cookies? Not default browser setting -> Uniqueness goes extremely high
- You block JavaScript? Not default and rare -> 100% Uniqueness
- You block all Tracking and Ads? Not default -> Uniqueness goes extremely high
....

I like quoting this from Daniel Micay (owner of GrapheneOS and deep knowledge about IT):
You can't enumerate badness
 

Amahl Farouk

Level 1
Jan 11, 2021
34
156
This is what many people think and community's like PrivacyToolsIO spread but instead the opposite is true.
With every non-stock setting you make and extension you install, the more you're unique. That's why privacy settings need to be done at (default) browser level like Safari does.

- You block all Cookies? Not default browser setting -> Uniqueness goes extremely high
- You block JavaScript? Not default and rare -> 100% Uniqueness
- You block all Tracking and Ads? Not default -> Uniqueness goes extremely high
....

I like quoting this from Daniel Micay (owner of GrapheneOS and deep knowledge about IT):
I think we're on the same page here. My point was that the browser could offer a bit more granularity to it's controls and most use for extensions is gone. Between DNS filtering and Edge's Strict blocking we already have a fairly decent privacy setup with limited exposure to trackers.

Then again, any change made to the browser would make it non-default and we're back to square one. It's the reason Tor Browser recommends the users don't change anything other than it's security slider. I guess I'm arguing that a similar feature would make Edge a lot more appealing to people wishing to ditch Ad/tracker blocking extensions and plainly use Edge.
 

Amahl Farouk

Level 1
Jan 11, 2021
34
156
I use Firefox container as it isolates Amazon from fastmail and all my regular sites have their own container
Yeah, I used to do the same back when I was using Firefox on Linux, but since I’ve migrated to Windows and Edge, I don’t have that option on chromium-based browsers as they don’t seem to have the API support for such isolation. Hopefully with v88 and the new changes planned we’ll have more options, but I’m not that optimistic.
 
F

ForgottenSeer 85179

Yeah, I used to do the same back when I was using Firefox on Linux, but since I’ve migrated to Windows and Edge, I don’t have that option on chromium-based browsers as they don’t seem to have the API support for such isolation. Hopefully with v88 and the new changes planned we’ll have more options, but I’m not that optimistic.
Edge / Chromium have Site isolation and Sandboxing instead of half-baked external extension solution which by the way don't protect against other "containers" if one gets compromised.
 

Amahl Farouk

Level 1
Jan 11, 2021
34
156
Edge / Chromium have Site isolation and Sandboxing instead of half-baked external extension solution which by the way don't protect against other "containers" if one gets compromised.
Totally agreed, security is the main reason I've since moved to the better sandboxing of chromium-based browsers. I think the post above was mostly about the privacy side of things and how containers would isolate everything from cookies to storage when visiting a website. It's true that security is better, but privacy-wise, we don't have anything similar to Firefox containers on Edge yet. First-party isolation is done at the process level, but the storage and cookies can still be accessed cross-site, unless explicitly instructed by the cookie-policy of that website (which is still rare).
 

monkeylove

Level 6
Mar 9, 2014
275
935
I'm currently trying the ff., but I don't know if it's right:

Firefox with about:config tweaks:


or Icecat Weasel:


and uBlock Origin, Multi-Account Containers (MAC), and Cookie Autodelete (CAD) addons installed.

uBlock Origin can be used with default settings or tweaked.

For Multi-Account Containers (MAC), make permanent containers for the ff:

1. Facebook (if needed) and one container each for other social network platforms used for personal or business purposes;

3. Twitter (not a personal account);

4. Stores;

5. Banks;

etc.

For anything else, like forums, they can be opened normally in any new tab. In the same non-container, use a non-personal or non-business Google account that's also used for forums, etc.

When a site is opened and doesn't belong to any container, then click on CAD and whitelist cookies if logins are required.

If a site that's supposed to be in a certain container is opened, click on MAC and select the option to always open the site in its designated container. Do the same for stores, banks, etc. After opening the site in its assigned container, click on CAD to whitelist cookies needed for logins.

For any Google personal or work account, use another browser, like Iridium, with any addons like uBlock Origin if desired, and CAD whitelisting any cookies again needed for whitelisting.

Thus, when Facebook is visited, Facebook will only see that the user visits Facebook and can't track in any site because no other cookies are saved in its container, and any other site will be opened in other containers. The same goes for stores, banks, other social platforms, etc.

If the Google personal account is opened in Iridium, Google won't know that the user has another Google account because it's opened in Firefox.

If there is any tracking involved, e.g., a Youtube embedded video opened in a forum, it will involve an non-personal or non-work Google account.
 

amirr

Level 21
Verified
Jan 26, 2020
1,008
3,591
Cleaning Cookies doesn't improve anything but make it worse.
Cookies only storing data/ settings on user side while nowadays tracking run on server side. Cleaning removes all your site settings which clear your Opt-In's, so it reduces your privacy on re-visit sites.
Using different browser profiles is a much better solution.

Sites can get your visited sites with simple CSS. Using profiles helps here too.
Anyway, malicious scripts aren't so powerful in Chromium based browsers. Using extensions reduce your protection.
I agree. I seldom use CCleaner to clean everything. e.g., every 6 months.
Is that ok then?
 
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