4 Browser Security Dangers to Know About

4 Browser Security Dangers to Know About

Modern browsers contain plenty of convenient features. From automatic spellcheck to page translation, there's so much functionality that it's easy to forget about browser security.

Let's take a look at a few different potentially dangerous aspects of a web browser that could compromise your security or personal information.

Browser Autofill Exploit

It's recently come to light that malicious folk can easily exploit one of your browser's most useful features. This feature is browser Autofill, which automatically fills in forms on websites with common info like your email address and address.

Since you probably type out these lines regularly, letting the browser automatically fill these fields saves you time. However, when you choose to use Autofill, your browser will fill every field you've provided a value for, regardless of whether you can see them or not.

A security researcher created a simple website to demonstrate how a website creator could abuse this function. The site asks you for only your name and email address, but if you let your browser automatically fill these fields, it will also complete hidden fields asking for your phone number, address, and credit card information.

This exploit is pretty basic, as the person trying to steal information simply makes the fields with sensitive info invisible. You can't see these, but your browser picks them up. However simple, it could still accidentally hand your credit card details over to someone.

Using an Outdated Browser

Modern browsers like Google Chrome and Firefox automatically update, but that hasn't always been true. Older versions of Internet Explorer required manual updates, such as Internet Explorer 8 that shipped with Windows 7. If a Windows 7 user never updated their browser, they could still be using an unsupported browser that has plenty of security flaws.

File:Internet Explorer 6 with classic styles.png

Image from Wikimedia Commons, used with permission from Microsoft

This is why our LabTech monitoring benefits you so much — we can easily identify if a machine is running an old browser version, and update it quickly.

Browser Plugins

The multimedia content on web sites requires several different technologies to run. A browser doesn't include all of these, so it uses what are called plugins to supplement its abilities. While useful, these plugins are also suspect to attack.

Plugins can suffer from the outdated issue discussed above, but even up-to-date plugins can have flaws. Java, in particular, has been the cause of many security problems in recent years. Thankfully these plugins are becoming less prevalent and will continue to do so, but until they're extinct, they still pose a risk.

Saving Passwords

Like the Autofill function, most browsers save passwords that you type into websites. This is convenient, but isn't a safe way to store passwords. Chrome, in particular, allows anyone with access to your browser to simply open up its stored password list and see what's inside.

We've discussed password security, but even if you create an incredibly strong password, it's not that useful if someone can simply open up your browser and copy them all down.

We've Got Browser Security Covered

While these possible exploits might sound intimidating, you can rest easy. We've got your browser security, and all other forms of security, covered in our managed services. You won't ever have to worry about whether your browser is updated or if you're running an old plugin. Contact us today if you'd like to learn more.


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