As your personal gateway to the Internet, your web browser is the first line of defense against malicious websites. If your internet browsing is not secure, viruses and spyware can infect your computer and corrupt your important data.
And while a good anti-virus software very useful, it’s always better to prevent malware infiltration in the first place rather than trying to fix the damage. But what exactly can you do with it? Is there a way to check your browser for any security holes?
Let’s try to answer these questions.
Is the browser security critical?
At first glance, the idea of having to secure your Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browser may sound strange. After all, we all have anti-virus software on our computers, so what’s the point of worrying about the browser?
However, an antivirus can only go so far. These programs specialize in removing malware and viruses, but cannot fight dynamic online threats. Things like Phishing or malicious scripts on the site are problems browsers need to deal with.
Such threats often stem from malicious ActiveX add-ons or plugins, although the move to HTML5 and SSL has greatly reduced the prevalence of these security issues. Nowadays, most of you face problems when granting permission to wrong websites or having an outdated browser with weak security features.
The best sites to check your browser’s security
The fastest and simplest way to check for vulnerabilities in your browser is to use a dedicated browser security test. These web applications verify your internet browser’s ability to deal with online threats, allowing everything to be fine if everything is up to the task.
Perhaps the most popular browser security test of the bunch is Qualys’ BrowserCheck tool. Qualys is a well known company when it comes to information security, and its browser testing tool is a great way to check your browser’s security profile.
CoverYourTracks – Formerly Panopticlick
Browser security isn’t just about fighting viruses. A secure browser also protects users from invasion of their privacy. It prevents malicious websites from tracking your online activity, masking your IP address from hackers.
(EFF) The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s tool focuses on this very aspect of security. Previously known as Panopticlick, the security test has been renamed CoverYourTracks to better reflect its purpose.
It basically tests your browser to analyze how easy it is to track your usage by a tracking company. Browser fingerprinting is a big concern these days, and you can check how vulnerable your browser is to tracking attempts like this.
How is my SSL
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) has become an essential component of internet security today. It encrypts communication between the server and your browser, preventing MITM (Man-in-The-Middle) attacks.
Like any other standard, SSL undergoes periodic updates. And while every browser supports SSL by default, your browser may not be able to run the latest version. Without SSL, your communications are very easy to track or intercept, which is especially bad when conducting financial transactions.
That’s where this experiment comes in. You can simply visit this website to check how your browser works under SSL enabled conditions. The report lists your SSL version, along with browser compatibility with additional TLS features.
If you’ve been using browser security tests for a long time, you’re probably familiar with other popular tests that we haven’t covered in our guide. Browser tests like PCFlank, BrowserScope and ScanIT were once very popular. These scanning tools are free to use and provide a comprehensive set of tests to check browser security.
Unfortunately, these tests have been discontinued or taken offline. Some of these tests are still supposed to work, but since we couldn’t find any active links, they can be considered dead.
For most of the top browsers, updating them should be enough to quell most security concerns. Browser security is often compromised due to outdated systems and malicious plugins.
Incorrectly configured firewalls or infected RSS feeds can also sometimes expose your computer to attack. This is why it’s so important to check your browser for vulnerabilities.
These test results can reveal any issues with your internet browser security, allowing you to fix them before they lead to real problems. And since these tests are completely free, there is no reason not to give them a try.