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  • Did you know this about browser history?

    Posted on RetiredGeek Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Questions: Browsers and desktop software Other browsers Did you know this about browser history?

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      • #2260149 Reply
        RetiredGeek
        AskWoody MVP

        Hey Y’all,

        I just found out something that I didn’t know about browser history. History doesn’t only store the URL of the websites you visit but also their IP addresses. I was trying to block a website via the HOSTS file and it just wouldn’t work. I use the MVPS HOSTS file and I added the appropriate entry, saved the file, flushed the DNS cache and rebooted. I could still get to the site….grrrrrrrrr! Then I had a thought and tried a different browser and it still worked.

        So it must be the browsers. I cleared the history in chrome, closed it, flushed the DNS cache again, restarted chrome and it works by blocking the site in my HOSTS file. Edge also blocks the site.

        However, FireFox will not! I did some googleing and it seems that FF (76.0 64Bit) does NOT honor the HOSTS file. There were several solutions offered but none of them worked for me after repeated trips to about:config and DNS flushes and more reboots.

        Just thought y’all would like to know.

        HTH 😎

        Moderator note: Please make your title reflect the content.

        May the Forces of good computing be with you!

        RG

        PowerShell & VBA Rule!
        Computer Specs

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2260179 Reply
        EP
        AskWoody_MVP

        does the HOSTS file work with older versions of Firefox (say FF 68.x ESR)?

        that’s one reason why I did not upgrade to Firefox 76

        • #2260208 Reply
          Sueska
          AskWoody Plus

          Yes EP, the host file works with older versions of firefox. Currently tested the host file on ESR 68.8. My understanding from researching this topic, is that the newer versions of firefox are implementing DOH Dns over https by default. Thank you for the heads up on this very interesting subject RetiredGeek. Will test on my newest version of Firefox.

      • #2260210 Reply
        Lars220
        AskWoody Lounger

        Firefox DNS over HTTPS bypasses the local hosts file
        by StevenBlack / hosts
        “Heads up!
        Firefox’ DNS over HTTPS feature is potentially really great.
        One problem: this evidently bypasses the local hosts file. So if this is enabled, you get the full advertising/tracking browsing experience.”

        Consider unchecking the box “Enable DNS over HTTPS” in Firefox Settings General > Scroll to bottom > Network Settings > click the box labeled ‘Settings…’ to the right of ‘Configure how Firefox connects to the internet. Review picture at github Steven Black link:

        https://github.com/StevenBlack/hosts/issues/1182

        Also consider Hackaday article:

        DNS-over-HTTPS Is The Wrong Partial Solution
        by: Maya Posch – October 21, 2019
        “The idea of also encrypting DNS requests isn’t exactly new, with the first attempts starting in the early 2000s, in the form of DNSCrypt, DNS over TLS (DoT), and others. Mozilla, Google, and a few other large internet companies are pushing a new method to encrypt DNS requests: DNS over HTTPS (DoH).”

        DNS-over-HTTPS Is the Wrong Partial Solution

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2260224 Reply
        Sueska
        AskWoody Plus

        I checked the newest version of Firefox on another PC and found that Enable DNS over HTTPS was NOT enabled for me. When I enabled the DOH feature, my host file was ignored. Re-disabling that feature allowed my host file to operate. I did have to close and re-open firefox in between setting changes My firefox is set to delete browser history on closing. I also ran flushdns in between setting changes. (This is on windows 8.1)
        @RetiredGeek, Out of curiosity, what OS is this happening on? Did you check if DNS over Https is set for firefox or is something else going on for you?

        • #2260227 Reply
          RetiredGeek
          AskWoody MVP

          Sueska,

          Edition: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
          Version: 1909
          Build: 18363.778
          FireFox-Hosts
          Also set to flush on exit.
          Manually flush DNS.
          Still ignores the Hosts file.

           

          May the Forces of good computing be with you!

          RG

          PowerShell & VBA Rule!
          Computer Specs

          Attachments:
          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2260239 Reply
            Sueska
            AskWoody Plus

            Strange indeed, My spouse is wondering if by any chance you are signed up for firefox studies which is located in privacy and security panel.

            • #2260312 Reply
              RetiredGeek
              AskWoody MVP

              Sueska,

              Yes that box is checked, it was defaulted to that. I didn’t mention before that I completely wiped FF from my machine including manually deleting directories left behind and then reinstalled from a fresh download.

              HTH 😎

              May the Forces of good computing be with you!

              RG

              PowerShell & VBA Rule!
              Computer Specs

              1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #2260538 Reply
              EP
              AskWoody_MVP

              I have the firefox studies option turned off in FF 68.8 ESR

              1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2260359 Reply
        DriftyDonN
        AskWoody Plus

        Not to be too ignorant here but RG how did you go about discovering the Hosts file little secret? I am at a loss…I use a VPN so the DNS is preset (not to cloudflare nor google).

        Where IS this Hosts file? How do you access and prove what you were able to discover?

        Signing as Just a wee bit dense and Drifty……I use FFx -ver 75 havnt upgraded yet- disabled the telemetry (I think)…just FYI…( I alsp clear History and cookies when FF closes-Netflix hates that)

        DriftyDonN

        "Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare."

        • This reply was modified 2 months ago by DriftyDonN.
        • #2260474 Reply
          RetiredGeek
          AskWoody MVP

          Don,

          The Hosts file is at: C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\

          Note: Although Hosts is a Text file it has NO Extension!

          Microsoft places a stub file there as a place keeper which includes instructions on using it.
          I’ve used it for years at client sites to keep employee’s off of social media sites by placing entries in the Hosts file. Yes, it is easy to get around IF and ONLY IF you know the secret which most employees do not!

          I use the MVPS Hosts File to block out advertisement sites.

          HTH 😎

          May the Forces of good computing be with you!

          RG

          PowerShell & VBA Rule!
          Computer Specs

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2260904 Reply
            DriftyDonN
            AskWoody Plus

            Totally new subject for me. Appreciate the link and the information. Something new to look up!. As a Ffx user, whats to do? Someone must have a work around…?

            There’s ALWAYS something ‘new’ esp when msft  et al keep up the telemetry quest!!

            Hey mod, the subject line was pretty clear to me considering most of the rest I see here.

            Be well and don’t breathe any more than you have to!

            DDN

            "Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare."

            • #2262313 Reply
              satrow
              AskWoody MVP

              If you don’t (ab)use the hosts file for ad/site-blocking, you don’t have to do anything.

              If you have to ask how you would tell whether you use it, you’re not using it so there’s nothing to workaround, you are not affected by this.

      • #2260386 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        A little searching reveals HOSTS file info.

        cheers, Paul

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