Why Increased Web Browser Security is the Need of the Hour

  • Google recently announced that it would expand its advertisement verification program across the board instead of just applying it to political ads.
  • Microsoft announced three new security features in its Edge browser: Password Monitor, InPrivate mode, and tracking prevention.

After the Coronavirus outbreak, a significant part of the global workforce started working from home where they use networks that are more vulnerable to a variety of cyberattacks. To date, there have been thousands of phishing incidents and scams targeting individuals and businesses costing $19 million and $2.1 million in the US and UK, respectively. After all this, the choice of web browsers has become one of the most critical factors for users keeping security and privacy in mind.

Why web browser security matters?

A web browser is a primary medium for users to interact with the cyberspace. Also, a lot of valuable information, including users' identity and card credentials, are stored in various ways in different browsers. Unauthorized access to your browsers can leak the credentials and cause permanent damage to your computer systems. Moreover, there’s already enough to worry about viruses and malware attacks. 

How web browsers are keeping up the fight?

With about 64% of all the world’s browser activity on Chrome and around 19 percent on Safari, which is at a distant second, other browsers are tussling at the bottom with their unique features. It’s been going on for decades, showing that a continuous effort is being made by the respective developers to improve the security and privacy of their visitors.

During the pandemic, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla Firefox, and other web browser makers have been pushing regular updates to secure browsers from cybercriminals. Read on to learn about the recent browsers’ important announcements.

Google Chrome

Despite initially halting the release of Chrome v81 in mid-March to avoid causing severe disruptions in remote operations, Google resumed regular security updates for the popular web browser from April onwards.

  • Google recently announced that it would expand its advertisement verification program across the board instead of just applying it to political ads, so as to clamp down on misleading or fraudulent activities related to COVID-19.
  • All advertisers will need to provide personal identification, business incorporation documents, country of origin, or other official records to verify themselves on the platform before being permitted to pay for ads on Google's network.
  • Google will give advertisers a 30-day window to submit documents. If they fail to do so, their sponsored ads will be pulled off.

Besides, Google Cloud rolled out BeyondCorp Remote Access, a new cloud-based product for employees to securely access their company's internal web apps from any device and location. The tech giant argued that it could be a challenge to deploy the existing remote-access VPNs for large numbers of workers at once.

Microsoft Edge updates

Microsoft has gradually built up its Edge browser to replace the dated Internet Explorer (IE). The Edge browser is built on top of the Chromium browser. the same open-source project that is used as a base for Google Chrome and several other browsers.

  • In the first week of April, Microsoft added a small but important security feature to its Edge browser. It now hides the password length in the password manager.
  • At the end of March, Microsoft announced three key security features: Password Monitor, InPrivate mode, and tracking prevention to strengthen the security and privacy of its Edge browser users.

Mozilla Firefox updates

The open-source web browser by Mozilla is often in the headlines regarding its privacy and security features, and vulnerability patches.

  • Mozilla Firefox 76 announced a new 'HTTPS Only' mode that automatically upgrades all HTTP requests to HTTPS when browsing the web and blocks all connections that can't be upgraded.
  • Mozilla said this new mode would keep operating systems and applications up to date while offering a safe computer environment by only trusting secure connections.
  • Users need to manually enable the feature by toggling the 'dom.security.https_only_mode' setting to 'True' in about:config.

Closing thoughts

The changes in security etiquettes while working remotely maybe challenging for employees intially. However, by taking the right precautions and using authentic software and programs, your information will stay safe and secured.