The IT security team at the University of Vienna has compiled a list of practical tips to make the use of browsers on PCs, laptops, smartphones and tablets more secure. These tips are aimed at students and employees of the University of Vienna.


Please make sure that your browser is up to date. Keep the auto update function activated.

Entering confidential information

If you have to enter passwords or any other confidential information on a website:

  • Check if the URL start with https: and make sure that the entire URL is correct. 
  • Open frequently used pages via the Bookmarks to avoid typos.
  • If possible, open the web page on devices that are used by several people in the Incognito mode or the Private mode. This way, all data stored during your session will be discarded as soon as you close the browser window.
  • Some browsers (Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge) also deactivate the add-ons which were added by the user in the Incognito mode or Private mode. As a consequence, any add-ons you installed by accident as well as extensions that are outdated or unsafe are not able to read or change the content of a website.
  • Use your browser's option to save login data and have it filled in automatically the next time you visit a website. This way you can easily use a separate complex password for each website and avoid accidentally entering login data on phishing sites.

Managing add-ons

You can increase the range of functions of most common browsers using extensions (add-ons). These add-ons sometimes require special permissions, for example, the permission to read and change any website you open.

  • Carefully check whether the add-on is trustworthy before using it.
  • Check whether the installed add-ons are still up to date and/or if you still need them on a regular basis. By using current add-ons and/or using only a small number of active add-ons, you can enhance the security of your system and better protect your privacy.
  • Some add-ons, for example Java and Adobe Flash, are frequently exploited by malware, for example, Micrsofot Silverlight, Apple Quicktime, Java and Adobe Flash. Remove these add-ons if you do not need them anymore. This way, you can enhance the security of your computer. If you really need an add-on, make sure that your browser activates add-ons only with your permission.
  • Some browsers (such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge) display PDF contents by default. These built-in feature is updated together with the browser. You can also replace add-ons that you installed separately. This way, you can reduce the number of vulnerable programs or programs that require regular updates.


If you use several browsers, you have to make these configurations in every browser separately.

Privacy settings

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox blocks tracking cookies by default. This means that the browser prevents websites and companies from tracking the surfing and search behaviour of users – regardless of whether they are in normal or private mode. Fingerprinting and cryptomining can also be blocked in Firefox.

Google Chrome

In addition to search terms, Google registers pages called up, user names and passwords, scans e-mails in Google Mail and all texts created in Google Docs. 

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge offers powerful, integrated solutions for protection against phishing and malware and natively supports hardware isolation under Windows 10.

Since an earlier update, the Edge browser sends input data in form fields to the cloud as part of the spell check. According to Microsoft, a permanent storage does not take place.