What are the Security Challenges in Modern Browsers?

In modern times, the web browser is one of the most used tools for organisations and individuals, making it a severe target for hackers. Despite the technological improvements that come with most modern browsers, there are still some downsides that cyber criminals utilise to steal data from users.

Some of these challenges of modern browsers might look simple, and others complex, but they all have the same trait of allowing cyber attackers to steal data and resources. Hence, this article will provide a well-detailed description of some security challenges a user should expect from browsers and recommendations on resolving them.

What is Browser Security?

Browser security comprises all those solutions, technological integrations, and even practices that help prevent cyber threats from being successful in a browser. For those who ask, how does browser security work? It is mainly categorised as those solutions that help individuals and organisations to have safe access to their browsers. Sometimes, these solutions also enforce policies ensuring web browser users maintain safe practices.

Web browser security solutions can detect and prevent a wide range of threats from being successful. Some of the threats that solutions such as this are known for preventing are data exfiltration, data theft, malware and viruses, social engineering attacks, and many others. Browser security solutions like LayerX provide top-notch protection to ensure that both internal and external data sharing are safe. Hence, most browser security solutions often employ a zero-trust approach to avoid scenarios like an insider attack.

What Are the Security Challenges in Modern Browsers?

Below, we will discuss comprehensively some security challenges facing most modern browsers and how they can be mitigated.

Corrupt and Malicious Browser Extensions

Browser extensions and plugins often serve many purposes for users, and they help in carrying out functions that a browser can’t perform by default. For instance, many modern browsers don’t have the feature of taking videos inside the browser. Hence, users will have to rely on plugins or extensions to carry out functions like this. However, cybercriminals can create malicious extensions, allow users to download them, and then carry out extensive attacks.

There are many things a malicious plug-in can do to help cyber criminals with these attacks, including saving user inputs, spamming users, and injecting malicious codes. For an organisation, the best way to prevent issues like this is to ban employees from downloading browser extensions without the vetting of the security operations centre (SOC). Furthermore, browser security solutions help determine whether an extension is safe or malicious.

Access to Browser History

The ability to store browser history is a big part of modern browsers, posing a huge threat to users. The browser history is basically information about everything you have been doing inside a browser, such as the sites you have visited. In a cyber attack, cybercriminals can easily access your browser history, which can play a crucial role in carrying out a subsequent phishing attack.

This is because your browsing history often serves as a revelation of one’s browsing behaviour. To stop scenarios like this from happening, there are certain actions that a user must take to ensure browser security. They should clear their browsing history and cache after each session and use incognito mode when necessary.

Cross-site Scripting Attack

Cross-site scripting attacks are another major breach many modern browsers face, and the results are usually devastating. It is also called XSS attacks, and it is basically when these cybercriminals inject malicious code client-side into a website, intending to affect a user’s browser. Generally, the code for this type of attack comes in Javascript, HTML, or a basic visual script.

The aim of this type of attack is that when users visit them, they send malicious scripts to the browser application, which, when executed, gives cyber criminals access to different forms of data. There are many ways through which cyber attackers can carry out this type of attack, and they include the Document Object Model (DOM)-based XSS, Stored XSS, and reflected XSS. Some of the steps one can take to prevent something like this from happening are validating user inputs and using browser security solutions like LayerX.

Access to Saved Login Credentials

The ability to save login credentials is a feature many modern browsers have, and many users see this as a groundbreaking feature. Apparently, this feature helps those who easily forget their password to have them saved and can retrieve them anytime they want. However, there’s a disadvantage to this feature. If, at any time, a cyber attacker gets access to your saved login credentials in a modern browser, the damage they can do in this situation can be heartbreaking.

Having access to your saved login credentials means the cyber attacker can easily access all the sites associated with those credentials. This also implies that the cyber attacker can easily make changes before a user can detect what has happened. Hence, a recommendation is to avoid storing data on a web browser, as they can be easily accessed.

Access to Auto-fill Information

Auto-fill information is another feature of modern web browsers that many users have found to be helpful. Hence, this feature is widespread even when it’s dangerous to a web browser’s security. An auto-fill feature allows certain saved information to be automatically provided whenever certain sites request it in a browser.

For instance, this auto-fill feature can provide your credit card information, home address, usernames, and passwords. Hackers can create a compromised site to save and provide them with your auto-filled information, assuming you access it. A way to prevent this attack is as simple as turning off the auto-fill feature.

Wrapping Up

Browser security is a makeup of all the practices, solutions, and platforms that help organisations and individuals prevent cyber attackers from successfully stealing information. Above, we discussed some security challenges associated with many modern browsers. There are many of them, but there are those that stand out from the rest.

Malicious plugins and extensions are among the most prominent issues many users face with modern browsers. Other issues include cybercriminals having access to login credentials, the auto-fill feature, access to browser history, and cross-site scripting attacks.