Browser

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.

 Note

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 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 As a consequence, any add-ons you installed by accident as well as extensions that are outdated or unsafe are not able to read or change the content of a website.

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, Microsoft Silverlight, Apple Quicktime, 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 and Flash contents by default. These built-in features are 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.
  • Install an ad blocker. Ad blockers remove advertisements and the embedded (potentially malicious) links displayed on websites, as well as possible malware included.

 Note

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