Despite sharing a common Chromium codebase, browser makers like Brave, Opera, and Vivaldi don’t have plans on crippling support for ad blocker extensions in their products — as Google is currently planning on doing within Chrome.
The three browsers makers have confirmed to ZDNet, or in public comments, of not intending to support a change to the extensions system that Google plans to add to Chromium, the open-source browser project on which Chrome, Brave, Opera, and Vivaldi are all based on.
The Manifest V3 scandal
Google announced plans to modify the Chromium extension system last October when the browser maker said it would develop a new set of standards — collectively known as Manifest V3 — that will modify how extensions work on top of the Chromium codebase.
It took extension developers a few months to understand how intrusive the Manifest V3 modifications were, but they did eventually realize that Google was planning to replace one of the main technology through which extensions interacted with website requests, in favor of one that was far inferior.
Initially, it was thought that extensions which provided ad-blocking services would be the ones impacted the most, but it was later also discovered that extensions for antivirus products, parental control enforcement, and various privacy-enhancing services were also affected.
Users protested against Google’s decision, and the company came under heavy criticism from the public — with many users accusing it of trying to sabotage ad-blocking extensions that were cutting into Google’s advertising business profits.
Google backtracked on the change a month later, in mid-February, but it appears that the promise to keep the old extension technology intact was just a lie.
At the end of May, Google made a new announcement in which it said that the old technology that ad blockers were relying on would only be available for Chrome enterprise users, but not for regular users.
This time, Chrome developers seem intent on plowing through with their decision, with the Manifest V3 changes being scheduled to go live in January 2020, when ad blocker extensions would see their ability to block ads greatly diminished.
The move has angered Chrome users beyond belief, with many vowing to switch browsers, and many setting their eyes on Firefox, whose developers have been working to transform and rebrand the former fan-favorite into a privacy-first product.
But Google’s planned Manifest V3 changes are being added to the Chromium base, meaning they’ll also likely impact other Chromium-based browsers as well.
In an email to ZDNet on Friday, Brendan Eich, CEO of Brave Software, said the Brave browser plans to support the old extension technology that Google is currently deprecating.
“To respond on the declarativeWebRequest change (restricting webRequest in full behind an enterprise policy screen), we will continue to support webRequest for all extensions in Brave,” Eich told ZDNet.
In addition, Brave itself supports a built-in ad blocker, that users can utilize as an alternative to any extension.
Furthermore, Eich told ZDNet that Brave would continue to support uBlock Origin and uMatrix, the two extensions developed by Raymond Hill, the Chrome extension developer who’s been highlighting Google’s plans to sabotage Chrome ad blockers for the past months.
ZDNet also received a similar statement from Opera, another browser vendor which uses the Chromium codebase.
“We might also consider keeping the referenced APIs working, even if Chrome doesn’t, but again, this is not really an issue for the more than 300 million people who have chosen Opera,” an Opera spokesperson told us.
This is because, just like Brave, Opera also ships with a built-in ad blocker.
“All the Opera browsers, both on mobile and PC, come with an ad blocker that users can choose to enable,” the spokesperson said. “This means that Opera users aren’t really exposed to these changes – unlike users of most other browsers.”
Further, this ad blocker is very configurable because it also allows users to import custom domain lists, so users can block any advertising domain they want, giving them full control of what types of ads they can see, or not.
Vivaldi, another pretty popular Chromium-based browser, published a blog post on Monday affirming its support for giving users a choice — even if the company has not yet decided how it will proceed.
“How we tackle the API change depends on how Google implements the restriction,” said Petter Nilsen, Senior Developer at Vivaldi.
“Once the change is introduced to Chromium, believe me when I say that there are many, many possible scenarios. Restoring the API could be one of them. We’ve restored functionality before,” Nilsen said.
“If the API is removed altogether and no decent alternative is implemented, we might look into creating a limited extensions store.
“The good news is that whatever restrictions Google adds, at the end we can remove them. Our mission will always be to ensure that you have the choice,” Nilsen added.
The only major browser maker who did not respond to our request for comment on this issue was Microsoft.
The company announced last year it was ditching its proprietary EdgeHTML browser engine for a Chromium port of Edge, which is currently in public testing.
Microsoft’s plans in regards to Google’s Manifest V3 changes are currently unknown.
More browser coverage:
Adventist Risk Management Data Protection Infrastructure
Companies always want to enhance their ability to quickly address pressing business needs. Toward that end, they look for new ways to make their IT infrastructures more efficient—and more cost effective. Today, those pressing needs often center around data protection and regulatory compliance, which was certainly the case for Adventist Risk Management. What they wanted was an end-to-end, best-in-class solution to meet their needs. After trying several others, they found the perfect combination with HYCU and Nutanix, which provided:
- Ease of deployment
- Outstanding ROI
- Overall TCO improvement
Nutanix Cloud Platform provides a software-defined hyperconverged infrastructure, while HYCU offers purpose-built backup and recovery for Nutanix. Compared to the previous traditional infrastructure and data protection solutions in use at Adventist Risk Management, Nutanix and HYCU simplified processes, speeding day-to-day operations up to 75%. Now, migration and update activities typically scheduled for weekends can be performed during working hours and help to increase IT staff and management quality of life. HYCU further increased savings by providing faster and more frequent points of recovery as well as better DR Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) by increasing the ability to do daily backups from one to four per day.
Furthermore, the recent adoption of Nutanix Objects, which provides secure and performant S3 storage capabilities, enhanced the infrastructure by:
- Improving overall performance for backups
- Adding security against potential ransomware attacks
- Replacing components difficult to manage and support
In the end, Nutanix and HYCU enabled their customer to save money, improve the existing environment, and, above all, meet regulatory compliance requirements without any struggle.
Secure Insight: GigaOm Partners with the CISO Series
Don’t look now, but GigaOm, the analyst firm that enables smart businesses to future-proof their decisions, is forging new partnerships to extend its reach and better inform busy IT decision makers. On Thursday, the company announced it was teaming with the CISO Series to share content and better support the community of chief information security officers, security practitioners, and security vendors.
“The CISO Series is one we have admired for a while because they have a very similar aim: They help security professionals become more knowledgeable and understand how their roles are changing,” said Ben Book, GigaOm founder and CEO. “We saw a clear common interest and are delighted to be working together.”
The CISO Series brand has built a formidable reputation through its podcasts, blogs, video chats, and live events for the security community. It has added the extremely popular CyberSecurity Headlines podcast to its stable this year, which joins the CISO/Security Vendor Relationship and Defense in Depth podcasts. Every Friday at 10am Pacific Time, the CISO Series hosts its highly engaging and fun weekly live CISO Series Video Chat, which viewers can register for here.
The channel partnership connects two of the strongest, fastest-growing brands in enterprise IT content production. The agreement enables the CISO Series to share exclusive GigaOm reports with its audience ahead of publication, while GigaOm is able to share insights from the CISO Series’ various publications through its social channels and newsletters. The CISO Series joins other media firms, such as The Register and SDXCentral, as official GigaOm Channel Partners.
“We are delighted to be working with GigaOm because we’re not only both addressing the same audience, but we’re also both trying to bring education and understanding to both the security vendor and practitioner communities,” said David Spark, managing editor and executive producer at the CISO Series. “GigaOm is providing some excellent reports that we’re leaning on for our discussions and reporting across all of our shows.”
Spark continued: “We are always tweaking our programming to bring the best and most up-to-date resources and we’re really impressed with both the volume and quality GigaOm is delivering. Not only are we impressed with their editorial work, but we also appreciate their business branding. It’s something we felt comfortable about aligning with the CISO Series brand as well.”
Check out the CISO Series schedule at http://crowdcast.io/cisoseries, or visit cisoseries.com for more information about the CISO Series and its weekly Video Chats.
Key Criteria for Evaluating Vulnerability Management Tools
Vulnerability management tools scan your IT estate to help identify and mitigate security risks and weaknesses. These tools can facilitate the development of a more comprehensive vulnerability management program. Leveraging people, processes, and technologies, successful initiatives effectively identify, classify, prioritize, and remediate security threats.
A security vulnerability is a weakness that can compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA) of information. Attackers are constantly looking to exploit defects in software code or insecure configurations. Vulnerabilities can exist anywhere in the software stack, from web applications and databases to infrastructure components such as load balancers, firewalls, machine and container images, operating systems, and libraries. This includes code used in the CI/CD pipeline as well as the infrastructure-as-code (IAC) that defines the compute, network, and storage infrastructure.
Recent cybersecurity events have exposed widespread vulnerabilities involving the exploitation of zero-day malware and unknown weaknesses. Threat actors continually discover new exploitation tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to take advantage of weaknesses throughout integrated systems. Moreover, identifying breach paths is increasingly complicated due to the widespread adoption of ephemeral services.
Vulnerability management solutions should provide end-to-end visibility of the protect-surface by aggregating both platform and application risks in a single pane of glass, while leveraging prioritized remediation based on business risk and threat context for efficiency. Containerized workloads deployed via DevOps pipelines have unique security requirements that demand a fully integrated vulnerability assessment to be automated into cloud platform services running containerized workloads.
The path to a mature security posture starts with the ability to identify vulnerabilities in software code, third-party libraries, and at runtime. In addition, the cloud platform used to host your applications should be scanned for misconfigurations. This requires the use of policy configuration baselines, benchmarks, and compliance standards that apply to both the infrastructure and the code used to build it. As organizations implement security guardrails early in the software development lifecycle (SDLC), they can take advantage of cloud-native culture to ensure network and security tools are used throughout all phases of the SDLC.
This GigaOm report explores the key criteria and emerging technologies that IT decision makers should evaluate when choosing a vulnerability management solution. The key criteria report, together with the GigaOm radar report that evaluates relevant products, provides a framework to help organizations assess the solutions currently available on the market and how these tools fit with their requirements.
How to Read this Report
This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.
GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.
Vendor Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.
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