Maintaining security on the network is essential, since there are many threats that can compromise personal data and the proper functioning of equipment. But it is even more important when using certain programs, such as the browser. In this article we are going to explain what are the types of attacks or threats that can affect the browser and how we can protect ourselves. We are going to give a series of tips to use Chrome, Firefox and other browsers with greater security.
What threats affect the browser
Hackers can use a wide variety of attack methods to steal data or compromise the proper functioning of systems. This also applies to the browser itself and other applications that connect to the network. It is important to know what types of attacks can affect us when browsing and thus be able to take measures to be protected.
The first type of attack they can use to compromise your browser is something we use quite frequently : . Plugins for Chrome or Firefox are very useful and there are plenty of them. For example, they are used to organize tabs, download managers, password managers, etc.
The problem is that hackers can use fake extensions for the victim to install and steal their data. Normally these add-ons are usually on insecure sites, links that come to us from the Internet, etc. They appear to be legitimate, but in reality they are designed just to scam.
Through a fake extension they could collect browsing history, passwords and personal data. They might even gain access to the browser to install other malicious plug-ins.
Another type of threat that can affect the browser is session hijacking. When we log in to any online service, such as a social network, a forum or anything, a unique session ID is assigned. This makes the device we use, such as a computer, continuously exchange that identification to validate the session.
The problem comes when that authentication ID is not encrypted correctly. That can cause it to be intercepted by an attacker. They could hijack the session and act as if they really were the legitimate user. They could make purchases and payments, block an account, steal confidential information, etc.
Especially the browser can be vulnerable to such attacks when you are connected to an insecure Wi-Fi network. For example in an airport or shopping center, where you don’t really know who may be on that network.
A type of attack that also affects browsing is SQL injection. What an attacker does in this case is send SQL commands to a web server and try to access, modify or steal that stored data. They could corrupt a web form or cookies and manipulate them to inject malicious code into the browser.
This will cause the victim, when entering a web page, to suffer a cyber attack by executing malicious code. From there they could steal personal information, payment details, passwords, etc. However, in this case it will affect the website that we visit or the server that we try to access from the browser.
MitM or MitB attacks
In this case, we are dealing with a type of attack that stands between the victim and a server that they are trying to access. This is what is known as Man in the Middle attacks or, more specific to the browser, Man in the Browser attacks . The latter are responsible for intercepting browser traffic.
What they are going to do is capture the traffic that we send and receive when entering a web page, logging in, etc. They can modify that traffic, steal information, passwords… In addition, it could alter what we receive when entering a website. For example, it could lead us to a false web page that pretends to be legitimate.
Exploit browser vulnerabilities
Of course, an attacker could exploit a vulnerability in a browser. It could steal passwords or view browsing history if it takes advantage of a known bug, either in the browser itself or in an extension that we have installed and that may have some vulnerability .
This is a classic, since there are many cyber attacks that affect all kinds of devices and that take advantage of this circumstance. They basically look for a security flaw to appear so they can exploit it and achieve their goal.
Tips to stay safe
After explaining the main types of attacks that can affect your browser when entering web pages or logging into platforms, we are going to give you some security tips . The objective is to protect your personal data as much as possible and not run any kind of danger.
Always have the browser updated
Something fundamental is to always have the browser updated correctly. In this way you can correct vulnerabilities and avoid some of the attacks that we have explained. Flaws may appear that allow intruders to enter and give them the opportunity to steal personal information.
Therefore, always have the latest versions installed. In the case of Google Chrome, go to the menu at the top right, click on Help and click on Google Chrome Information. It will automatically show what version you have installed and, if there is a newer one, it will automatically start the installation.
Something similar happens with other browsers like Firefox. You also have to go to Help and enter About Firefox and hit update. It is something that is usually done automatically, but errors may appear and have to be done manually.
Use security software
Of course, to maintain security and prevent attacks on the browser, we must always have security applications installed. It is important to have a good antivirus , such as Windows Defender itself or any alternative such as Avast or Bitdenfeder. There are many options, both free and paid, but you should always install one with guarantees.
But beyond using an antivirus, you can also count on other security programs such as a firewall or even browser extensions. There are some specific plugins to maintain security and prevent attacks, such as WOT or HTTPS Everywhere, which help maintain privacy.
Install plugins safely
If you are going to install any extension , even a security one as we have shown, it is essential that you install them safely. You should always go to the official browser store, be it Chrome, Firefox or the one you use. You should avoid installing plugins from sources that are not secure.
An attacker could create a fake extension or modify a legitimate one in order to steal data. They can sneak them on the Internet and use them as baits for the victim to download and actually add malicious software that will jeopardize their security and privacy when browsing.
Common sense when visiting web pages
Of course, something essential is common sense . In fact, we can say that most attacks are going to require us to make a mistake. For example, clicking on a malicious link, downloading a file that is actually malware, installing a fake browser plug-in, etc.
What you should do is always maintain safe browsing, enter sites that are reliable and be careful when downloading files or installing anything. This will prevent many types of attacks on the browser that can put your data and its proper functioning at risk.
Avoid insecure networks
Some attacks like Man in the Browser can appear when we connect to insecure Wi-Fi networks . Therefore, it is essential to avoid those that can be a danger. For example, we are talking about Wi-Fi networks in public spaces, such as an airport or a shopping center.
In case you have to connect to an unreliable site, you can always make use of a VPN program. What this type of application does is encrypt the connection and allow personal data to be protected when browsing the network. You can use options like NordVPN or ExpressVPN, which work very well.
In short, as you have seen, there are many attacks that can affect a browser and put your data at risk when you access the Internet. It is important that you take precautionary measures at all times and protect your personal data online. You can use the tips we have shown to improve security.