A fake PayPal website that siphon your banking data, a streaming site that automatically downloads malicious code, an extension that installs spyware on your PC … A simple click on a fraudulent site can infect your computer or your mobile. But only 10% of French say they know how to protect themselves by surfing the Internet, according to a study by Mozilla. 80% are afraid of being hacked and 60% are afraid of advertising.
To surf the Internet, you have to go through a web browser. There are dozens, but most users use the best known. In France, Google’s browser, Chrome, holds nearly half of the market (48%), ahead of Safari (19.3%), Firefox (14.6%), Internet Explorer (6.2%) and Edge ( 4%), according to the StatCounter website.
Any good browser should in principle alert you when you try to connect to an unsecured site. The new version of Firefox, for example, displays a warning message when you try to connect to a page without HTTPS protection, and disables the recovery of cookies on these pages. Google Chrome considers all HTTP sites requesting passwords or payment information as unsecure.
No browser offers total protection
Should we then prefer some browsers to others? In the annual Pwn2Own contest, where participants are trying to crack software loopholes, several vulnerabilities on Edge and Safari have been discovered, giving full access to computer control. Chrome and Firefox did better, avoiding the traps set by hackers. But this is not necessarily representative of all the threats.
“No browser is really more secure than another , relativized Nicolas Sterckmans , security expert at Malwarebytes. The important thing is to update as soon as they are available. “ Most web browsers are in charge also automatically.
We must also find a compromise between security and use. Edge and Chrome block some content sometimes making the site unreadable. Firefox allows instead to surf older sites. Sign that no browser can really boast of a real superiority in this area, Chrome and others fight especially on ease of use, speed or energy consumption.
The new trend: native adblockers against tracking
Beyond the pure malicious attacks, Internet users have more and more the uncomfortable feeling to be tracked permanently during their navigation. Hence the success of adblockers, used by a quarter of French netizens in 2017, according to eMarketer.
A success such as several actors decided to integrate them by default in their browser. This is already the case for Opera or Brave. Chrome should arrive in 2018 and the next Safari release will block self-launching videos and plotters. In order not to annoy the site publishers, Apple and Google take care to clarify that it is not a question of “blocking”, but of “filtering” advertisements that do not respond to “good practices”. You can also choose private browsing, where searches, history and cookies are not kept.
The most suspicious will fall back on the browser proposed by Tor (The Onion Router), an uncomfortable offer, but allows to surf in a completely anonymous way by distributing communications across many routers.