Browser safety: How Your Browser Protects You and Why It’s Critical

We asked Claudiu Popa, CEO of Datarisk Canada and Founder of KnowledgeFlow, about web browser safety to give us insight into how browsers can impact cybersafety and data protection.

How does your choice of browser impact your online security and browsing experience?

The choice of browser matters because different browsers – like any software – are influenced by those who fund their development. It is important to recognize that different browsers can have vulnerabilities that others do not suffer from. While some are focused on anonymity, others are designed to maximize usability and those UX design choices can be at odds. For these reasons, I recommend that people try out different browsers after doing their research, secure those they choose to keep and use them for specific purposes.

What does the term ‘safe browsing’ mean? What are the dangers of browsing?

When we talk about browser safety, it is a set of measures aimed at protecting users from internet threats, ensuring a secure online experience. It involves technologies and practices designed to safeguard against malware, phishing, and other malicious activities. This includes monitoring for harmful content, blocking dangerous websites, and educating users on security practices. Some of the dangers of browsing that can be mitigated by browser safety improvements include:

  • Malware and Viruses: Browsers can block or warn about downloads from untrusted sources.
  • Phishing Attacks: Built-in tools can alert users about suspicious websites.
  • Ransomware: Browser Safety features can prevent access to known ransomware-distributing sites.
  • Tracking and Privacy Breaches: Enhanced privacy modes and tracker blocking reduce data collection.
  • Exploit Kits: Security updates and patches in browsers close vulnerabilities that exploit kits target.
  • Unsecured Networks: Warnings about insecure connections and the promotion of encrypted connections enhance security.

What should people do differently to improve their browser Safety? Is there a difference between what they should do on desktop vs mobile devices?

To make sure you’re browsing safely whether you’re on your computer or phone, there are some simple steps to follow. First off, always keep your software updated and use strong, unique passwords. If remembering passwords is tough, consider using a trusted password manager and be cautious of phishing attempts – they can be tricky!

On your computer, it’s a good idea to install security extensions and have an antivirus program running. For mobile users, stick to downloading apps from official stores like the App Store or Google Play, and always check what permissions an app is asking for before you install it.

So, while the basics of browser safety are pretty similar no matter what device you’re using, how you go about staying safe can vary due to operating environments and typical usage patterns of desktop and mobile devices. Desktop users might want to focus more on things like network security and scanning for malware. On the other hand, mobile users should pay close attention to app permissions and make sure they have a secure lock screen set up, since phones are often with us wherever we go.

Are there any emerging threats or trends in technology that could impact browsing safety?

Threats to browser safety are emerging more and more every day. Some of these threats include increasingly sophisticated phishing schemes leveraging artificial intelligence to create highly convincing scams, zero-day exploits that exploit unknown software vulnerabilities, the rise of ransomware targeting mobile devices, and AI-driven attacks that automate the generation of malicious content at an unprecedented scale.

Make sure that you’re staying informed about the latest security risks to ensure that all software and operating systems are up to date with automatic updates enabled and install reputable security software for comprehensive protection. Regular data backups can mitigate the impact of ransomware attacks, while securing home networks and practicing safe browsing habits, such as avoiding suspicious downloads and links, are essential for maintaining online safety. These proactive steps form a robust defense against the evolving landscape of cyber threats.

What should users do if they encounter a warning indicating a potentially unsafe website while browsing?

If you encounter a warning about a potentially unsafe website, it’s crucial to immediately stop and click off the site. These warnings are often indicators of security threats like malware or phishing. Users should ensure their devices have the security software up-to-date and report the encounter if possible. If you believe the warning might be a false alarm and the site is supposed to be safe (e.g. a website you and trust), verify the site’s URL by typing it directly in your browser address bar or through a trusted search engine. Sometimes, typos can lead you to malicious sites (a practice known as typosquatting). Adopting cautious online behaviors and relying on reputable security tools and browser safety features are key to navigating these risks safely.

How are Browsers Taking Action?

Recently, as shown in this article Google Online Security Blog: Real-time, privacy-preserving URL protection (, Chrome made an update to their browser safety feature to stay on top of the evolving nature of unsafe sites targeting users. These sites usually stay undetected since they are only available for less than 10 minutes, so by the time Chrome was able to identify the site as unsafe from the locally stored database, which updates every 30 minutes, the site is gone.

Many devices did not have the resources to keep up with the growing list of harmful websites and could not receive the proper instructions on how to secure their device to get full protection. Improvements have been made, and the new system is designed to adapt to the methods used by harmful sites to evade detection. The enhanced protection mode now includes real-time list checks and AI-based classification of malicious URLs and web pages. Although this feature was in the enhanced version, it has now been implemented into the new version of the browser itself to ensure the upmost browser safety for Chrome users.

Chrome isn’t the only browser making changes to its browsing settings. According to this article, Firefox Rolls Out Total Cookie Protection By Default (, Firefox has now introduced Total Cookie Protection, a system that confines cookies to the sites where they are created. This effectively prevents tracking companies from using these blocked cookies to monitor your browsing activity across different sites. With this information, companies can target users with specific ads based on their observed interests.

By implementing Total Cookie Protection, users can browse the internet with increased confidence and peace of mind. This feature ensures that cookies, which are small pieces of data stored by websites on a user’s computer, are confined to the specific sites where they are created. This means that tracking companies and advertisers are unable to follow users across different websites to gather data about their browsing habits and preferences. As a result, users can enjoy a more private and personalized browsing experience without constantly worrying about their data being collected, analyzed, and potentially misused by third parties. This proactive approach to online privacy helps to safeguard users’ personal information and reduces the risk of targeted advertising and invasive tracking practices.

Considering the features and security measures of different browsers is crucial for safeguarding your online activities and personal data. Choosing the right browser can significantly enhance your browsing experience while ensuring a safer and more secure online environment. Prioritizing browser safety can make a substantial difference in protecting your digital life.