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Who’s Watching You?

Thanks to a nifty applet named Blacklight, free to use on The Markup website, you can see for yourself what kind of information any web page gathers about you. Just paste a web address into Blacklight and it will scan the page, revealing the number of ad trackers or third-party cookies passing information about you to places unknown, whether the page provides data to Facebook or Google, or if your very keystrokes and mouse movement are captured.

Teapot support

  • #errorcodes
  • #http

Did you know that web browsers offer support for error response of teapots?

The HTTP 418 client error response code “I’m a teapot” indicates that the server refuses to brew coffee because it is, indeed, a teapot. First described in 1998, it was extended to full functionality as HTCPCP (Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol) in 2014. This protocol is an extension of HTTP that offers several new methods, such as BREW, or WHEN (to stop pouring milk into the coffee).

On the 6th August 2017, Mark Nottingham called for the removal of all references to 418 from Go, Python’s Requests and the HttpAbstractions library. Ironically, this incited an outcry of support for the April Fools’ error code, prompting the 418 code to be officially marked as a reserved HTTP status code, thus preserving it for future generations of teapots choked by requests for coffee.

Does your Firefox report a blocked port, too?

  • #firefox
  • #itsecurity
  • #accesscontrol

Most web servers run on the standard ports 80 or 8080. You might, nevertheless, happen upon a service server that does not conform to this standard. Then you might see the error NS_ERROR_PORT_ACCESS_NOT_ALLOWED. This means that Firefox blocked the access on the requested port for the sake of your safety, as attempting access on non-standard ports is a common sign of a cross-site scripting attack. However, if you are certain that given web server is not a threat, you may allow such non-standard access.

Type ‘about:config’ to the address bar and confirm the security warning. Then write ‘security.ports’ to the search bar. You should see a single option called ‘network.security.ports.banned.override’, or you may create a new parameter with this name if it doesn’t exist. Enter comma-separated port numbers for which you wish to allow access as a value of this parameter.

You may read more about this problem for example here: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Mozilla_Port_Blocking

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