How does Brave browser know which sites are verified Brave publishers?

How does Brave browser know which sites are verified Brave publishers?
on April 11, 2019

You may be wondering how Brave browser is able to display that a website is verified without compromising your browsing history?

If the browser does not send your browsing history to Brave headquarters (which would defeat Brave’s main selling point about protecting your privacy) then how does it know which websites are Brave Publishers and which are not?

The answer lies in a file that resides in your Brave profile directory.

If you open your local Brave directory (~/.config/brave under Linux) you will see a file called publisher-data.json

Opening this JSON file will show you a list every single Brave Publisher!

The featured image in this post shows a snapshot of a single screen worth of data from publisher-data.json

How does it work?

Once in a while the browser anonymously downloads this file from a central location. It never sends any of your visited URLs to Brave. The file is downloaded without providing any of your personal data, and then the data within the file is used to compare your current website to one of the websites listed as a registered publisher.

This is the same strategy used by Mozilla’s browsers (Firefox) and also Chrome in order to fight malicious websites. The anti-malware system also downloads a malicious website database locally and then checks visited sites against it. If a site matches then it shows a glowing red page instead of the malware-infected HTML content.

Does it scale?

Good question!

Speaking from experience: no. Distributing a single file was the way the early DNS system worked. Since only universities had access to the Internet, a single file could hold the name and IP address of every host present on the Internet in the early days. Soon as the network grew, the BIND DNS system was developed to allow for efficient and hierarchical distribution of DNS data.

Therefore, this kind of system can only be used until the number of publishers is in the thousands, but not millions. Currently the publisher-data.json file is 12 MB in size – a manageable download for the time being.

But once the Brave Publisher program gains traction they will probably need a decentralized way to distribute the publishers file.

A specially configured blockchain could be used in this case, as decentralization is exactly what it’s designed to do best!

BAT tracking sites

Sites which track Brave Publishers are simply reading this JSON file and offering a nice user inteface to search it. You can, in theory, open the file yourself and search it but you’ll need a good text editor for that because the file is currently at 12 megabytes in size! It will definitely grind a slow computer to a halt, especially if you don’t have much memory.

Editors which attempt to interpret the file contents might be especially troublesome. I tried opening the file in a popular developer environment and it crashed as soon as I tried to search the site names.

So, to save yourself the trouble, just search Google for “Brave publisherr site listing” and enjoy a nice user interface. You might as well send a BAT tip and see ads from these websites in order to support them!

While some sites claim to crawl the WWW searching for the Brave verification file located at HTTPS://YOURURL/.wellknown/brave-rewards-verification.txt having the Brave browser file available and not using it would be a tremendous waste of system resources.

Conclusion

We hope this short article has given you a bit more insight into how this exciting new web browser works.

Crypto.BI is, itself, a Brave Publisher and every time you download the Brave Browser via our link, we get a small incentive from Brave.

So if you want to start getting paid in cryptocurrency to browser the WWW, then we invite you to download Brave Browser right now and start earning immediately.

You can read more about how to earn cryptocurrency by just browsing the WWW where we share some tips on how to become a verified publisher to start receiving tips from visitors.

Brave Links