Dark Patterns

I came across this interesting video. It shows the devious ways we can be manipulated by advertisers and by those websites that need as many members as possible to give them heft with advertisers.

Well worth watching.

Stylish No Longer Stylish

It’s been reported that a popular browser extension, Stylish, was purchased last year by SimilarWeb, a company that specialises in website tracking. Stylish now collects a user’s complete browsing activity and sends it back to its servers.

If you have this extension, you might wish to uninstall it.

What is WOT?

WOT is Web of Trust, a free, popular browser add-on I’ve used for a long time. It acts as a website checker, notifying you about each site’s reputation. It uses a colour-coded icon alongside the site name, as here:

WOT site safety example
WOT site safety example

The codes are green, yellow, and red, while grey indicates no rating:

WOT Safety Rings
WOT Safety Rings

If you hover your cursor over the icon, you can see the rating:

WOT rating
WOT rating

You can view the full scorecard and add your own rating if you wish.

Sneaky Adware

Ever had an advert appear on your screen while browsing that you weren’t expecting? Chances are it’s adware.

These programs tend to insinuate themselves by grabbing a free ride on the back of software you download from within a browser. Those free downloads that look so enticing are the usual culprits. For example, I’ve downloaded a couple of free video downloaders, only to end up with PUPs (potentially unwanted programs). Those video downloaders work fine, but they were free because of their hidden payload.

Some anti-virus programs will detect them on a deep scan, but a faster way is to use a selective program like the free AdwCleaner (now owned by Malwarebytes).

AdwCleaner start screen
AdwCleaner start screen

It is very easy to use. Just press Scan Now and off it goes. When it’s finished, it presents you with a results screen:

AdwCleaner identifies unwanted programs
AdwCleaner identifies unwanted programs

Click Clean & Repair. You are prompted to save any work that’s open:

AdwCleaner warning message
AdwCleaner warning message

If you click Click and Restart Now, the system will close down, hence the warning.

When the system reboots, you see this:

AdwCleaner cleanup completed
AdwCleaner cleanup completed

As you can see, only two of the three threats were removed. Clicking View Log File revealed:

AdwCleaner results
AdwCleaner results

The one it didn’t delete is WOT (World of Trust), which is correct. Though it has the profile of a PUP, it’s a worthwhile security feature.

Where Can I Delete Passwords in Firefox?

If you have opted to save logins and passwords for the sites you visit, there may be times when you wish to delete that information for a particular site. Here’s how.

Begin by clicking on the hamburger menu icon at the far right of the toolbar and selecting Options.

In the screen that appears, select Privacy & Security.

Select Saved Logins…

Scroll to the site that you need to delete.

Click Remove, then Close.

Importing Passwords

Firefox also provides an option to import passwords from Google Chrome and Internet Explorer. In the screen above, click the Import… button and follow the instructions.

Where Do IE11 and Edge Keep Passwords

If IE11 or Edge asks if it can save your login id and password (assuming you have that option set) when you sign in to a site but you decide later that you don’t want them saved for that site, how do you change that? Here’s how:

Select the Tools icon (that cog icon on the far right of the toolbar) and choose Internet options. In the Content tab select Settings in the AutoComplete section.

In the AutoComplete Settings window, select Manage Passwords,

This brings up the Credentials Manager screen, with the web credentials.

Click the down arrow  for the website you no longer want login information to be saved.

Select Remove.

Click Yes.

Where Does Google Keep Passwords?

When you sign up to a new site using Google, if you’ve elected to use the feature, it’s likely you will be prompted to save your user id and password to avoid logging in the next time you use that site. This is a useful feature, but there may be times when you need to prevent it from doing that.

Recently, I discovered a plugin I use had deactivated my licence key and a shorter entry had been inserted. I re-entered the key, but as soon as I saved it, it reverted to the shorter entry, which I rightly guessed was my login password for that site. I needed therefore to tell Google to stop doing that. The problem was that I didn’t know where Google stored this information.

I eventually discovered the location and was able to exclude the site. If you have the same need,  here’s how you fix it.

Select the icon with the vertical three dots at the far right of the toolbar and click on Settings.

This displays the Settings page. Scroll to the bottom and select Advanced. Then scroll to Passwords and Forms. Choose Manage passwords.

Scroll to the site you want to remove.

Click the vertical three-dot icon. Select Remove.

And that’s it.

Google Chrome Developer Feature

While all the major browsers provide useful development features via F12 (or Inspect Element), Google Chrome has an additional feature that is a gem. When you bring up the F12 screen, you’ll see this icon:

This enables you to toggle the device view for the current screen. Useful for viewing your design on different screen sizes: