Wednesday 6 March 2024

A New Test For The Brave Browser and New Security Focused Browsers

How Can We Test For Brave?

By Strictly-Software

I use the Brave browser as well as a few other Chromium-based security-focused browsers such as (Opera, CCleaner, and DuckDuckGo) most of the time due to their inbuilt security measures. My preferred browser is Brave due not only to its Shield which removes trackers, cookies, adverts, and has a measure of built-in fingerprint spoofing. Plus it has its own search engine, which can be accessed from the address bar, and it doesn't block certain sites like Google and other search engines do.

It also blocks Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages and takes you to the original publisher's site, can have strict upgrades to HTTPS URLs when linked to an unsecured domain, as well as its incognito pages are based on the TOR engine.

I never use Chrome anymore as it used to be a quick plain browser but has now got bogged down with too many options. Also, I don't like Google which relies on heavy use of adverts and selling user information for revenue, plus its other links to intelligence agencies, and its censorship. This has pushed mainstream media articles ahead of legitimately more relevant sites. I also don't like it's use of banned reading lists that try to prevent people from viewing sites the US Intel Establishment has deemed unsuitable like or

Plus I don't know what they now do server side to try and identify users due to all these new privacy-based browsers, and the number of privacy plugins/extensions, that could help protect you. However, it's good to know you can have a measure of protection without bogging the browser down with plugins such as fingerprint spoofers like Trace and AdBlockers like MalwareBytes or the DuckDuckGo plugin. Also, I like being able to earn cryptocurrency from Brave which rewards the user, not the site for viewing small adverts.

However, the issue with Brave is that it hides as Chrome and doesn't have its own user agent. It used to, and the hope is that in the future it will again but at the moment it just shows a Chrome user-agent. 

For example, my latest Brave user-agent is:

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/ Safari/537.36

There have also been a lot of changes to how Brave identified itself in the Window and Navigator sub-object that used to make Brave identifiable through inspection of certain objects. These seem to have changed back and forth many times and you can see some of the old objects that used to be checked in my older article on looking for Brave here.

Why bother looking for Brave, or indeed any browser when feature detection should be used rather than user-agent sniffing or other means to find the name of the Browser?

Well, Brave prides itself on security, hiding adverts, removing tracking code and cookies, and now has a certain level of fingerprint sniffing protection to stop sites from using properties identified by JavaScript or Server Side code to change Response headers to make identifying unique users and traffic to sites much harder.

Therefore you may want to write Chromium extensions that add extra protection to Brave browsers or do the reverse, add code back in to replace removed adverts, or help track link clicks with removed Ping attributes or other devious plans your boss wants you to run on sites accessed by people using Brave. 

I don't know, I just like to play with the code and see what object detection features each browser reveals. They may all be based on Chromium but they can all have unique features.

An updated function from my previous article makes use of the fact that Brave now identifies itself in the window.navigator object, specifically the brave object in navigator and the isBrave property within that. 

First I rule out any Mozilla browsers e.g Firefox by looking for a well-known Mozilla property, and ensure the browser is Chromium based by checking for a Webkit property. It is similar to the two line old function but uses a new Webkit property as the old one has been removed and is wrapped in a function.

function IsBrave(){
	let w=window,n=w.navigator; // shorten key objects

	// as many tests we know browsers now support; prove its not Mozilla; prove its Chromium based and has Brave properties in window and navigator objects
	let isBrave = !("mozInnerScreenX" in w) && ("chrome" in w && "onwebkitanimationiteration" in w && "brave" in n && "isBrave" in n.brave) ? true : false;
	return isBrave;

And if you want to check for the new CCleaner browser there isn't any specific objects in the navigator object I can see but it does have a unique user-agent e.g:

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/ Safari/537.36 CCleaner/

However, the Duckduckgo browser, which comes with an email protection service, allowing you to use a specific email address that only forwards non-spam emails to your real address, does have a specific object if you want to check for it.

// detect duckduckgo
let duckduckgo = ("duckduckgo" in navigator) ? true : false;
However, we all should be detecting objects to allow for features rather than the old method of user-agent sniffing, but if you did want to identify certain browsers there are unique objects, usually on the navigator object that can be checked.

You should know that there are lots of ways you can protect yourself from tracking and unique identification nowadays but it does rely on the device you are using to browse as well as the model of that device.

For instance, even if you are now using IPv6 addresses on your router which makes unique identification a lot easier than the older DCHP method of picking a free IPv4 address as local to you as possible when accessing the web, your system can be set to use temporary IPv6 addresses.

This means that your real unique identifying IP address is never shown to outside sites. A look at ipconfig /all in your command prompt will show you whether you are using them or not and a search online will show you how to change the settings if you're not using them yet.

Also, if you are using Android or iOS phones or devices that use Google as an integral part of their system, you can delete the unique advertising ID that exists to allow sites to uniquely track you whether or not your browser or plugin removes Google tracking codes. 

On iOS the ad identifier is also called "IDFA" and on Android, "AAID". As these IDs can only be accessed using server-side code, Java or Python, and a Google library, modifying the DOM won't stop you from being tracked. 

You can easily remove these IDs in the Privacy / Advertising section of your phone's settings if you have Android 12 or above. iOS devices are more complicated but this article explains how to remove them.

If you want to check what properties exist for a browser object then these two lines of code can help you out rather than a loop.
const keys = Object.keys(window);

This just outputs all the keys such as events, other objects like document and navigator, and properties as well into the developer tools console area that all modern browsers have.

Remember as Brave, CCleaner, DuckDuckgo, Edge, Opera and Chrome are all based on the same Chromium browser they are the same standard-compliant browsers. However, as I stated in my last article, it is amazing how many modern sites still break when I use a user-agent switcher and change my string to IE6 for example. 

They really shouldn't if they were using feature detection by checking for the existence of objects before running certain code.

By Strictly-Software