Information Security Office

Web Browser Security

Web browsers are one of the most used applications by computer users and provide the ability to browse the Internet, research topics and access information from remote locations. Over-time web browsers have increased in sophistication and complexity by integrating with additional third party applications.

Unfortunately this complexity has increased security risks regarding web browsers. Many of these third party applications and technologies have vulnerabilities (weaknesses) that are discovered and exploited by attackers to gain access to computer systems. 

An example of a popular third party application is Adobe Acrobat Reader. It remains under constant attack due its presence on 98% of all computers. (Infosecurity.com 5/27/10)

Disabling all third party applications and technologies would also prove to be difficult because this may decrease the usability of the web browser for legitimate work related tasks. What is required is increased attention regarding available technologies and learn to configure them to fit your needs without compromising security.

The following tips provide a starting point to help keep your web browser secure:

  • Avoid visiting un-trusted web sites. Additional tools such as WOT can be helpful.
  • Keep operating system software and virus protection software updated
  • Install web browser security updates when released
  • Avoid installing any third party web software unless required for work related purposes.
  • Learn to use available security features for web browsing software

More Information

Securing your web browser - US CERT
Web of Trust (WOT) - helps determine trustworthy web site. 
Secure your browser - SpamLaws.com