This blog is kicking off our August security series! Here at Percento, our clients’ security is our top priority and we want to do our part to make users more aware and proactive online. The web browser you use is the platform for all of your online activity and therefore its security is critical. A web browser is the application you use to access websites and load their content. Popular browsers include Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Google’s Chrome, Apple’s Safari, and Mozilla’s Firefox. Many users simply use the browser that comes with their operating system but it is important to consider the security risks of insecure or outdated browsers. Without the proper protection in place, these browsers can leave your computer at risk for spyware, ransomware, and other threats.
The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team with the Department of Homeland Security says that people can fall victim to online threats through unknowingly clicking on malicious links and websites, un-updated software, and browsers which sacrifice security for performance. This team also advises that vulnerabilities in your systems allow hackers to steal information, destroy files, and use your computer as a means to attack others. In the end, users are responsible for their own web activity but there are some browsers that will better alert them of and deter them from threats.
Every browser has security flaws, but the difference between browsers is how quickly and thoroughly companies respond to and defend against these threats. Because Google is a mature company, it has had the time and resources to build a strong reputation for security and protection. There are multiple built-in security features and the browser is updated frequently to defend against the latest threats. Besides its general security measures, Chrome also has some of the most powerful methods in place for keeping browser activity from affecting the system itself.
Also, Chrome has received recognition from multiple organizations. Browserscope, a community-driven project which tests features within multiple browsers, gave Chrome the highest rating in general as well as in security. The Pwn2Own annual competition aims to exploit widely used software and competitors had the hardest time attacking this browser.
However, there are some down sides to using Chrome. Chrome stores all of your information within the browser and uses it to target you for advertisements. To some users this can seem invasive, but to those who use the company’s search, mail, drive, and video platforms it creates a more tailored experience.
As one of the oldest browsers still in use, Opera has had time to build its security measures. The browser runs on the open-sourced Google Chromium system without enabling add-ons which can make browsers more vulnerable. Security features include malware and phishing blockers, advanced encryption which erases all private data, and customizable security settings. Other features include tab stacking which allows for vertical and horizontally organized tabs, multi-modal interaction which boasts both keyboard and mouse controls, and competitive launch and load times. The biggest downside to this browser is the fact that many outdated sites can’t be formatted by the browser and might block its access.
Epic Privacy Browser
Another browser using the open-sourced Chromium platform is Epic, which has stringent default security measures. This browser blocks all plug-in additions, keeps no records of user history, hides IP addresses, and blocks all third-party cookies. Ads & other trackers are blocked so your data will never be collected or sold. Also, because it blocks your location it allows you to access blocked websites (for example, accessing Pandora radio from other countries). With all of these additional blocks, the browser itself still runs up to 25% faster than other browsers. One downside to this browser is that because it keeps no history, it doesn’t auto-fill in the address of your favorite websites or your search terms.
Overall, it is important that you are aware of and proactively defending your browser from the various threats, trackers, cookies, and more that you will encounter on each website you visit. Having secure browsers is the first step in protecting your computer, but it is also important to use the proper security measures. Stay tuned to our blog for parts 2 & 3 of the May security series where we will discuss how user activity is tracked online and how to manage cookies.
To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.