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Share Your Experience: Take the 2024 Developer Survey
226 votes
Accepted

What stops Google from saving all the information on my computer through Google Chrome?

What processes and systems are in place so that Google is not able to copy the data on my computer? None. Google Chrome usually runs with the permissions of your user account. The application can ...
Arminius's user avatar
  • 44.8k
102 votes

Is there a file system that doesn't support encryption?

No, that's impossible, unless you change the definition of a file. A file is arbitrary data. Arbitrary data can be encrypted data. Even if we only allow structured data, structured data can - if we ...
Peter's user avatar
  • 3,630
94 votes
Accepted

Is there a file system that doesn't support encryption?

Read-only file systems can by definition not be written to (At least not digitally. What you do with a hole puncher and a neodymium magnet is your own business). Examples: Live CDs, from which you ...
l0b0's user avatar
  • 3,021
86 votes

What stops Google from saving all the information on my computer through Google Chrome?

A piece of unsandboxed software running on a PC/Mac has (generally) the same privileges as the user running it and therefore can access any data that can be accessed by the user. You are trusting ...
Rory McCune's user avatar
  • 62.3k
74 votes
Accepted

Aren't keyfiles defeating the purpose of encryption?

If decryption only relies on the keyfile and this keyfile is readily available, there is indeed no significant security benefit in your setup. What you can do though is store the keyfile on a ...
Demento's user avatar
  • 7,455
64 votes
Accepted

What metadata from the Linux file system is in my uploaded photos?

the linux file system itself seems to leave some metadata on a file User, group etc are meta data stored in the file system. They are not part of the file and thus will not be included when uploading ...
Steffen Ullrich's user avatar
44 votes
Accepted

Is NTFS encrypted by default?

No, NTFS is not encrypted by default. can data be read straight from the sectors in clear text? Yes, by default NTFS files are unencrypted. Since NTFS 3.0, EFS (Encrypting File System) is a ...
gowenfawr's user avatar
  • 72.8k
44 votes

Permanently erasing a file

Yes, most likely. However there can always be edge cases: SSDs are doing wear leveling etc., and will most probably not write your zeroes to the same cells your original data was written to. How the ...
manduca's user avatar
  • 1,111
40 votes

What stops Google from saving all the information on my computer through Google Chrome?

If you are running a Linux distribution with SELinux, it is possible to have an additional layer of security. SELinux is an OS-level technology which allows tight restrictions on what processes — like ...
mattdm's user avatar
  • 2,711
35 votes
Accepted

Why is it impossible to verify whether a file has been modified since creation?

I think you will want more of a philosophical answer than a technical one, given what you are rejecting. A file is just a discrete collection of bits. Relevance and meaning are overlaid onto those ...
schroeder's user avatar
  • 130k
29 votes
Accepted

Could you write custom data to a file of a specific extension and use it to hack a program once it opens the file?

File extensions The file extension actually has absolutely nothing to do with the data in the file or how that data is structured. Windows likes to make you think the extension is somehow magical - ...
Mike Ounsworth's user avatar
27 votes

Is there a file system that doesn't support encryption?

Loads of file systems don't have native file system level encryption support. Software-encrypted files can be stored on any file system though, just like any other file. The file system cannot tell ...
Alexander O'Mara's user avatar
25 votes
Accepted

At which point can a system be compromised when downloading archived data from an untrusted source?

1 should not present any danger as long as the file is just saved somewhere and no attempts to open it with anything are made. If you view it even with a text editor, there's already a small danger of ...
Overmind's user avatar
  • 8,899
23 votes

What stops Google from saving all the information on my computer through Google Chrome?

Lawyers. You have a contract with Google stating what they will do / you allow them to do. This is called the Google Chrome Terms of Service . And obviously, you have carefully read it before ...
Ángel's user avatar
  • 18.9k
21 votes

Why is it impossible to verify whether a file has been modified since creation?

Imagine you're on a desert island and I hand you a print out of the US constitution, claiming that it is an exact copy (no words changed). With nothing to compare it against, you have no way to verify ...
Mike Ounsworth's user avatar
19 votes

What stops Google from saving all the information on my computer through Google Chrome?

What processes and systems are in place so that Google is not able to copy the data on my computer? There's not anything in place that makes it so they can't but there's something in place that makes ...
Wayne Werner's user avatar
  • 1,835
17 votes
Accepted

Why are file URLs marked as not secure while HTTPS URLs are marked as secure in browsers?

The Connection is secure badge is in respect to the information transmitted via the network / internet. As you correctly observed, the file:// protocol uses no network connection, neither a mechanism ...
ig-dev's user avatar
  • 1,108
17 votes

Permanently erasing a file

So the question is: If you overwrite a file's data with, let's say, just using WriteFile Win API to overwrite all data with zeros, will that become unrecoverable? Don't use the WIN API WriteFile to ...
hft's user avatar
  • 5,036
14 votes

What metadata from the Linux file system is in my uploaded photos?

An important piece of metadata you seem to forget is the file name: it is accessible to the JS in the browser, and from a name like IMG_20200627_215609.jpg one can deduce when the photo was taken even ...
Dmitry Grigoryev's user avatar
13 votes

Is NTFS encrypted by default?

It actually doesn't need any forensics effort and is routinely done by Windows sysadmins. Change the password of the Windows admin by booting a toolset of choice or simply attach the disk to a ...
fraxinus's user avatar
  • 3,568
13 votes

Permanently erasing a file

One way to dispose of a file in a 100% reliable manner is to keep it on a separate HDD partition you can purge, or, better yet, on a separate medium you can afford to destroy. If that's not practical,...
Dmitry Grigoryev's user avatar
12 votes

Is there a file system that doesn't support encryption?

There seems to be a misconception between encryption and file systems. The two are independent, one can do encryption without having a file system, and one can have a file system without doing ...
dark_st3alth's user avatar
  • 3,022
12 votes

Aren't keyfiles defeating the purpose of encryption?

While Demento's answer is fine, I'd also present another user case I'm personally using: I have full disk encryption set up — using LUKS on a Linux-based box, and the scheme is implemented as follows: ...
kostix's user avatar
  • 221
11 votes

Permanently erasing a file

Effectively, yes, overwriting the blocks used by a file will make it unrecoverable. This can be done using sdelete on Windows, or shred on Linux.
gowenfawr's user avatar
  • 72.8k
10 votes
Accepted

Do moved files leave a trace on the drive they created on?

YES, the files are recoverable even when they are moved or deleted from the disks. Let's begin with how OS places files in the hard disks. Files are saved on the hard disk in small chunks. These ...
Ugnes's user avatar
  • 381
9 votes

At which point can a system be compromised when downloading archived data from an untrusted source?

In theory all of these places could be exploited. I am not going to go into specific exploits available as these change constantly with archive format and moving tech: Initially downloading and saving ...
Vality's user avatar
  • 399
7 votes

Forensic analysis of file metadata

Where metadata is stored will be up to the OS and the file that created it (as you say about Notepad and Word docs). Some file types even create a separate file just to hold the metadata. Because of #...
schroeder's user avatar
  • 130k
6 votes

How do I run an unknown .exe file without being in risk

If you really want the closest thing to a 100% safe way of running malware: Create an account with Amazon Web Services, fire up a server but don't connect it to anything (read: put it in its own VPC) ...
HashHazard's user avatar
  • 5,175
6 votes
Accepted

How to properly sanitise a file name

There are a few things to watch out for: Microsoft’s file systems have the most restrictive path lengths, ensure you do t exceed them (I believe 256, but look it up yourself) There are a few files ...
LvB's user avatar
  • 8,963
5 votes

How do I run an unknown .exe file without being in risk

does this guarantee 100 percent protection? No. Never. Never ever ever ever ever. Period. 100% guarantees simply do not exist in the real world. If you wanted an example of what might get close ...
Cort Ammon's user avatar
  • 9,248

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