Online security

How to test your browser security

As a personal gateway to the Internet, your web browser is the first line of defense against malicious websites. If your Internet browser is not secure, viruses and spyware can infect your computer and damage your important data.

And even though a good antivirus helps, it’s always better to prevent malware from entering in the first place rather than trying to repair the damage. But what exactly can you do about it? Is there a way to check if your browser has security vulnerabilities?

Let’s try to answer these questions.

Is browser security even important?

At first glance, the idea of ​​having to secure your Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browser seems strange. After all, we all have anti-virus software on our computer, so why bother worrying about the browser too?

However, an antivirus cannot go further. These programs specialize in removing malware and viruses, but can’t do much against dynamic online threats. Things like phishing or malicious scripts on a webpage are issues the browser needs to address.

These threats typically come from malicious add-ons or ActiveX plugins, although the switch to HTML5 and SSL has significantly reduced the prevalence of these security issues. Nowadays, you mainly face problems by granting permissions to wrong web pages or having an outdated browser with weak security features.

Best Sites to Test Your Browser Security

The fastest and easiest way to check your browser for vulnerabilities is to use a dedicated browser security test. These web applications check your Internet browser’s ability to deal with online threats, giving the good if everything is found up to the task.

Qualys BrowserCheck

Probably the most popular browser security test is Qualys’ BrowserCheck tool. Qualys is a well-known company involved in information security, and its Browser Testing Tool is a great way to check your browser’s security profile.

There are two versions of the tool – a plugin which needs to be installed on your browser and a Javascript version which can work on its own. The plugin provides a more comprehensive overview of your browser’s security features, so this is the recommended route, especially for Chrome and Firefox.

Users of Opera, Safari, or Microsoft’s Internet Explorer might find it a bit difficult to get the plugin to work and would have better luck using the Javascript test. That’s pretty good at spotting glaring security issues.

CoverYourTracks – Formerly Panopticlick

Browser security is not just about fighting viruses. A secure browser also protects the user from intrusions into their privacy. It prevents malicious websites from tracking your online activity, by hiding your IP address from hackers.

(EFF) The Electronic Frontier Foundation tool focuses on this very aspect of security. Previously called Panopticlick, the safety test has been renamed CoverYourTracks to better reflect its purpose.

Basically, it tests your browser to analyze how easy it is to track your usage pattern by a tracking company. Browser fingerprinting is a major 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 part of internet security these days. It encrypts communication between a server and your browser, preventing MITM (Man-in-The-Middle) attacks.

Like any other standard, SSL undergoes periodic updates. And although every browser supports SSL by default, yours may not be able to run the latest version. Without SSL, your communications are vulnerable to being tracked or intercepted, which is particularly harmful in financial transactions.

This is where this test comes in. You can simply visit this website to test how your browser stands in terms of SSL support. The report lists your SSL version, as well as browser compatibility with additional TLS features.

Abandoned trials

If you’ve been using browser security tests for a long time, you might know of other popular tests that we didn’t mention in our guide. Browser tests like PCFlank, BrowserScope and ScanIT were once well known. These scan tools were free and provided a full suite of tests to check browser security.

Unfortunately, these tests have been discontinued or taken offline. Some of these tests still claim to work, but since we couldn’t find any working links, it’s safe to consider them dead.

Should you test your browser’s security policy?

For most major browsers, keeping them up to date is enough to fix most security issues. Browser security is usually compromised due to outdated systems and malicious plugins.

A misconfigured firewall or infected RSS feeds can also expose your computer to attacks. This is why testing your browser for vulnerabilities is so necessary.

These test results can reveal any security issues with your Internet browser, allowing you to fix them before they cause real problems. And since these tests are completely free, there’s no reason not to try them.