Web browsers is the most common interface between a user and the internet. Many people do not know anything about the internet that is not seen through their browsers. At the same time most people do not realize that many of their favorite applications are actually customized browsers. These include famous chat platforms like MSN Messenger and ICQ, and desktop apps like Windows Explorer.
From the early days of the Mosaic platform, the first commercial browser (Netscape Navigator) and the first challenger in the market (Internet Explorer) in 1995 we have gone a long way. There are more than 100 browsers in the market, catering for different operating systems and different uses (i.e. social networking). Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Opera are the four more popular browsers
New browsers come with new challenges. Options to surf anonymously, allow or block sites, cookies etc. are adding more pressure to forensic investigators.
Some of the changes to come, include IDN (Internationalized Domain Name) enabled Browsers; the ones you can use to type a domain name (website address) in every language you want. This will change the balances of domain name ownership, trademarks and internet traffic. New IDN Enabled Browsers like Sundial are all ready available and they are already creating even more challenges for for forensic investigators. The multilingual attribute of the web addresses and their content is just one part of the problem. The way every different browser saves its history, its temporary internet files (web pages and thumbnails of photos) is also an other consideration. The exploitation of the Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) is called an IDN Homograph Attack. If you want to learn more, please visit our IDN Homograph Attack Page.