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Web Browser Security

Why are security settings for web browsers important?

Your web browser is your primary connection to the internet, and many applications may relay on your browser to function.  Many web applications try to improve the ease of use of your browser by enabling different types of functionality, but some functionality might be unnecessary and also leave your computer susceptible to attack.  Some hackers target vulnerabilities in users' web browsers in order to gain access to users' computers.

How can I secure my web browser?

The safest approach is to disable the majority of your web browser's functionality features. If you decide later that you need some of these features, you can always go back and enable them.

Make sure that you are using the latest supported version of your web browser. Netscape, Microsoft and other vendors are quick to fix reported security problems in the current releases of their browsers, but they usually don’t go back and fix earlier versions. If you are using an earlier, unpatched web browser, it may be possible for remote sites to view files or email on your computer, monitor your web browsing activities or make network connections from your machine.

When configuring your browser to use plug-ins and helper applications, make sure any plug-ins and applications you download are from trustworthy sources. Before clicking on a link in a browser window, check at the lower left of the window to make sure the link address shown is the same as the one indicated on the page, or that the destination is what you are expecting. Hackers will sometimes set up sites that “mimic” well-known, popular sites in order to lure visitors into clicking on a link to a site that may surreptitiously download Trojans, back doors or other malware. This is known as pharming. If you encounter a site that appears to be mimicking a UR site, contact Security and Policy at

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Securing your web browser

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