“Internet Explorer is used to browse the internet from your computer and vice versa,” says the saying. However, other browsers are equally dangerous.
Browser, as one of the most important programs, is particularly vulnerable to attacks by cybercriminals. The program is currently used not only for reading but also for web applications (including mail) and social networking sites. Capturing passwords or using a browser to access your computer gives you great benefits.
Errors found in browsers are extremely dangerous. Every hacker-exposed vulnerability can be used to attack millions of users. Internet Explorer has been criticized for years, but other browsers are not deprived of it. When it finds an error it can be used for a long time without revealing it to a wider group. If a vulnerability is made public, malicious programs will quickly appear.
Browser creators should remove the vulnerability as soon as possible and publish a patch. For this reason, it is important to use the update because the victims are mainly users of obsolete software versions. It is also worth noting how quickly the browser manufacturer reacts to found holes.
Programs can be split into open source and closed ones. The closed applications that make up the majority, are characterized by the fact that you can never be sure what exactly the program does. When using Internet Explorer or Opera, you need to trust the manufacturer. It may be that a closed application can collect data or perform operations that you do not know.
Developers of open applications such as, Firefox or most Linux distributions, in addition to the program themselves, provide their source code on the basis of which anyone can see how the program works. This requires programming knowledge, but thousands of people around the world voluntarily look at programs and look for errors in them. This allows vulnerabilities to be detected faster than closed software. Unfortunately, this gives you a great opportunity to abuse.
A hacker who has a security vulnerability can use it without informing the world of the error. In the case of closed programs, finding the error is much more difficult but possible. Because of the difficulty, more and more people are trying to use the error than they would like to tell the program’s producer.
Browser architecture is just as important as bug detection and patching. How to store passwords and support external plugins (Flash, Adobe Reader, QuickTime) are the main problems of today’s browsers.
One of the potentially dangerous features is the ability to show passwords stored by the program. For example, Google Chrome can be viewed with just a few clicks. In Firefox, you have added an additional master password to protect your saved passwords … but by default it is inactive. A person with physical access to a computer can easily read the passwords they use.
You can use not only browser vulnerabilities, but also included plugins. It is equally common to use additional programs commonly used. In earlier versions of Internet Explorer (for example, still in use with IE6), it was even possible to call any browser program (including those downloaded from a malicious site) and view its contents.
You can access your computer using the ActiveX technology. It was intended to be used to launch applications embedded on pages. It quickly turned out that this is often malware.
To the disadvantage of the Internet users can also function invisible to the user. Firefox, Chrome, and new versions of IE were designed from the beginning with security in mind. Unfortunately, the old versions of Internet Explorer had, for example, a function that could send to Microsoft any user-entered data (including passwords) before they were encrypted. A similar tool is also found in Safari. It was supposed to serve as bug reporting, but how is it really?
Data in the hands of criminals
Probably the most likely solution is to integrate with the new Opera the ability to share user data. This feature is designed to easily create your own server and publish files, web pages and radio streams. A group of such poorly secured servers can be sent, for example, to botnets or pornography – in addition without the knowledge of the browser owner.
Embedded in the browser, the server will be used by vulnerable people who do not know anything about security. In favor of the Opera, however, it can be said that it is a niche program, and the number of potential victims is too small to make the attacks cost-effective.
Common sense will not hurt
Even the safest browser will not help if you do not know what it does. Programs can protect against some counterfeit bank pages that try to fraudulently passwords, warn unencrypted connections, or verify certificates.
Unfortunately, no program will protect you from publishing your data in untrusted sites, downloading software from unknown sources, or other unreasonable behavior. Basic knowledge of the dangers on the web is essential for quiet surfing.