Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Savvy Tip: Browser Security - Why can't I print coupons?

For those of us who surf the web on a regular basis whether for printable coupons, hot deals or freebie finds, upgrading your browser software, like Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer or Google Chrome is a must!  Obviously new security features are enhanced with each upgrade, but did you know that within the last few weeks "researchers have found dozens of websites have been secretly harvesting lists of places that their users previously visited online, everything from news articles to bank sites!"  While passwords aren't at risk,  some internet companies are obsessed with tracking users' behavior so they can profile you easily.  -

According to Yahoo Finance, "The technique the University of California, San Diego researchers investigated is called "history sniffing" and is a result of the way browsers interact with websites and record where they've been.

Although security experts have known for nearly a decade that such snooping is possible, the latest findings offer some of the first public evidence of sites exploiting the problem. Current versions of the Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers still allow this, as do older versions of Chrome and Safari, the researchers said.

The researchers studied far more sites -- a total of the world's 50,000 most popular sites -- and said many more behaved suspiciously, but couldn't be proven to use history sniffing. Nearly 500 of the sites studied had characteristics that suggested they could infer browsers' histories, and more than 60 transferred browser histories to the network. But the researchers said they could only prove that 46 had done actual "history hijacking."

The latest versions of Google Inc.'s Chrome and Apple Inc.'s Safari have automatic protections for this kind of snooping, researchers said. Mozilla Corp. said the next version of Firefox will have the same feature, adding that a workaround exists for some older versions as well.

Microsoft Corp. noted that Internet Explorer users can enable a private browsing mode that prevents the browser from logging the user's history, which prevents this kind of spying. But private browsing also strips away important benefits of the browser knowing its own history, such as displaying Google links you've visited in different colors than those you haven't."

WOW!!!  For safety's sake make sure you select "yes" when you're asked whether or not to automatically upgrade your browser software!

The Downside:  

There is a downside to upgrading your browser though.  Almost every time you upgrade your browser, printable coupon sites like, and won't be ready for the upgraded security features.  That means you'll be temporarily unable to print coupons and get a "Coupon Printer Not Installed" message, even though you already have it installed or the "please enable Java" message, when it's already enabled.  Just wait a week or two for the coupon sites to catch up or try using a different browser for a while.  Right now I have to print brick coupons in Google Chrome, Redplum in Safari and still cannot print coupons.  Oh well, they'll catch up too! It's worth the temporary printing inconvenience to make sure I'm as safe as possible online!


  1. thanks for this! I couldn't figure out why I was having trouble printing lately...

  2. At least you can print some. Wish the coupon companies would let us Linux users pint coupons too.


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