Your favorite websites and browser could be revealing your exact location information to strangers, hackers or even identity thieves. A new report from the National University of Singapore indicates that anyone with a website can use your browser cache files from popular sites to pin point where you are while you are browsing the Internet.
Many popular websites like Google and Craigslist send you pages that location-specific to geographic location. Your browser then stores information from these sites in a part of your browser called the memory cache. According to researchers, anyone with a website can essentially reach into your browser cache to see what is in it. By analyzing your browser cache data for specific location-sensitive websites they can predict where you are with frightening accuracy. The report dubs this process as a geo inference attack.
But that deeply entrenched practice isn't necessarily secure. An attacker can measure exactly how long it takes to load these resources and, with that information, narrow down your location—potentially down to your exact address.
Every popular web browser is vulnerable, including Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera. Even the secure Tor browser can't completely protect you. And, 62% of the most popular websites in U.S., Australia, Japan, Singapore and the U.K. are affected.