Web browsers are the gateway to using the Internet and are installed in almost every device. Your web browser has a lot of information about your Internet habits – from the websites you visit to the passwords of all your accounts. While web browsers contain some safety features such as blocking pop-up windows or indicating secure websites, they can also put you at risk.

web browser

Source: Statista

How Your Web Browser Puts You at Risk

Browser Extensions

Browser extensions are used to improve the functionality of your web browser. These are often third-party applications that have various features such as managing tabs or filtering content. While most extensions are usually safe, there are some that send malicious code or viruses. Browser extensions might also be able to track every page you visit.

Browser-based cryptojacking can also occur from downloading browser extensions. This is a method of cryptomining that injects malicious script into your browser. This script causes cryptomining software to operate in the background while your browser is running, and can be done without a user being aware of it.

How to avoid: Although some web browsers like Google recently banned cryptojacking extensions, it’s important to double check if an extension is legitimate. Research the types of browser extensions available and what type of data you would be sharing with them.

Cookies

When you visit a website, it sends your hard drive a small file called a cookie that is saved on your computer. Cookies enable websites to recognize your browser and remember certain information so that whenever you access a website, it will read the saved cookie and load a customized version of the site for you.

How to avoid: Clear your browser cookies after accessing confidential websites like online banking. You can also use Incognito mode, which doesn’t store your browser history, site data or information you filled out.

Browser History

Your web browser keeps track of things like all the websites you visit, what time you visited and what you download. While your browser history helps you backtrack, is also reveals a pattern of behaviour. Hackers can use your browser history to find out the types of websites you like and where you have accounts. They can then use this information to target you with phishing or malicious ads.

How to avoid: As stated above, clear your browser history and cache after engaging in confidential activities like online banking. You can also use Incognito mode, which doesn’t store your browser history, site data or information you filled out.

Saved Data & Autofill

When you’re logging onto a website or typing in your credit card information, your web browser will usually ask if you want to store your details. Storing your details creates a faster Internet experience because you don’t have to constantly type out your information. However, if someone gains access to your device, they can also access your accounts. Not only can they take your personal information, but they can also take your accounts by changing your passwords.

Auto-fill is when your browser automatically fills in information for forms on websites. Typical information stored includes your username and passwords for accounts, home addresses and e-mails. That way, you don’t have to type out the information each time you log in or sign up for a website.

How to avoid: Disable auto-fill and remember me for confidential websites like online banking. It may be annoying to constantly type in your information, but it will keep you more protected.

For overall protection against Internet threats, consider having additional security services. Jolera’s Secure I.T.™ solutions provide multiple ways of protecting you online.