How to make personalized web browsing simple, secure, and anonymous

Eran Gabber, Phillip B. Gibbons, Yossi Matias, Alain Mayer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


An increasing number of web-sites require users to establish an account before they can access the information stored on that site (“personalized web browsing”). Typically, the user is required to provide at least a unique username, a secret password and an e-mail address. Establishing accounts at multiple web-sites is a tedious task. A security-and privacy-aware user may have to invent a distinct username and a secure password, both unrelated to his/her identity, for each web-site. The user may also desire mechanisms for anonymous e-mail. Besides the information that the user supplies voluntarily to the web-site, additional information about the user may flow (involuntarily) from the user’s site to the web-site, due to the nature of the HTTP protocol and the cookie mechanism. This paper describes the Janus Personalized Web Anonymizer, which makes personalized web browsing simple, secure and anonymous by providing convenient solutions to each of the above problems. Janus serves as an intermediary entity between a user and a web-site. Given a user and a web-site, Janus automatically generates an alias - typically a username, a password and an e-mail address - that can be used to establish an anonymous account at the web-site. Different aliases are generated for each user, web-site pair; however the same alias is presented whenever a particular user visits a particular web-site. Janus frees the user from the burden of inventing and memorizing distinct usernames and secure passwords for each web-site, and guarantees that an alias (including an e-mail address) does not reveal the true identity of the user. Janus also provides mechanisms to complete an anonymous e-mail exchange from a web-site to a user, and filters the information-flow of the HTTP protocol to preserve user privacy. Thus Janus provides simultaneous user identification and user privacy, as required for anonymous personalized web browsing.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFinancial Cryptography - 1st International Conference, FC 1997, Proceedings
EditorsRafael Hirschfeld
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9783540635949
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event1st International Conference on Financial Cryptography, FC 1997 - The Valley, Anguilla
Duration: 24 Feb 199728 Feb 1997

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference1st International Conference on Financial Cryptography, FC 1997
CityThe Valley


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