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The Browser Hacker's Handbook by Michele Orru, Christian Frichot, Wade Alcorn

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Introduction

Overview of This Book

You have chosen to read a book that will provide you with a practical understanding of hacking the everyday web browser and using it as a beachhead to launch further attacks. The attacks will focus on the most popular browsers and occasionally delve into the less mainstream ones. You will largely explore Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer. You will even dip your toes into the water of modern mobile browsers and, although these won't be the primary focus, a lot of the attacks are relevant to them also.

Attackers and defenders both need to understand the dangers the web browser has opened up for users. The reason is obvious. The web browser is possibly the most important piece of software so far this century. It is humanity's most popular gateway to access the online environment—so much so that you have watched it grow from cumbersome desktop software to a dominant application on your phone, gaming console, and even your humble TV. It is today's Swiss Army knife of presenting, retrieving, and navigating data. Since Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented his “little web browser that could” in 1990, this overachieving application has become one of the most recognizable pieces of software in the world.

Various estimates are being thrown about regarding the number of people globally using web browsers. Doing some “back of the napkin” calculations will reveal some extraordinary numbers. If you say that about one-third of the global population is using the ...

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