Disguised Browsers

Many browsers disguise themselves by presenting userAgent strings which are similar to those of more popular browsers. Sometimes browsers do this 1 so that sites with poor brow­ser sniffers will render pages as popular browsers will; and sometimes browsers do this 2 so that sites which try to sabotage enemy browsers will fail to do so.

Examples are:

  1. Opera: many poor brow­ser sniffers have failed to detect Opera correctly, resulting in pages being rendered poorly, so Opera Software has repeatedly changed the Opera userAgent string in order to adapt to lousy browser sniffers.

  2. Vivaldi: enemies of Vivaldi such as FaceBook, Google, and Microsoft 1 deliberately sabotaged Vivaldi by presenting broken code to Vivaldi, or 2 refused to allow Vivaldi users to use their sites. Consequently, starting with Vivaldi v2.10, Vivaldi Tech­no­lo­gies began pre­sent­ing the same userAgent string as the Chrome browser, ensuring that its enemies cannot sabotage Vivaldi without also sabotaging Chrome. Unfortunately, this means that 1 good, honest browser sniffers like the one used by my sites will fail to correctly identify Vivaldi users; and 2 browser statistics will fail to cor­rectly count the number of Vivaldi users, mak­ing Vivaldi appear to be much less popular than it really is. more

In addition, some browsers disguise themselves as other browsers for unknown reasons. An example is Brave, which identifies itself as Chrome.


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