The web browser is essential for navigating the internet and accessing online content. With 4.9 billion users worldwide, around 63% of the global population uses the internet. However, it can also be a security risk as criminals target places people visit, and the internet is no exception. Login credentials and other sensitive data are common targets. As a result, that can put business data at risk even when doing a seemingly safe task online.
What Is a Web Browser?
A web browser is a software application that allows users to access and navigate the internet. It is used to display and interact with web pages. They also commonly provide features such as bookmarks, history, and the ability to save and fill in forms. Some of the most popular web browsers include Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari. Chrome along is used by 64.68% of users across desktops, mobile devices, and tablets.
Why Is It Important to Keep Business Data Safe?
Businesses need to keep data safe for several reasons:
Compliance: Many industries have regulations and laws that require companies to protect sensitive customer and employee information. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in significant fines and penalties.
Reputation: A data breach can damage a business’s reputation and lead to a loss of customer trust. Regaining lost trust can be difficult and expensive.
Financial loss: Stolen data can result in financial losses for a business, such as the cost of resolving the breach, potential lawsuits, and settlements.
Competitive advantage: Businesses that prioritize data safety will be able to retain customer trust and confidence, giving them a competitive advantage over others in their industry.
Legal liability: Businesses can be held legally liable for any harm caused by a data breach, including identity theft, financial loss, and other forms of damage to customers and employees.
Safeguarding customer and employee data are crucial for businesses of all sizes and industries.
Why Web Browser Extensions Can Be Risky
Whether they claim to offer cost savings, virus protection, or other features, web browser extensions aren’t always safe. That is because they are third-party software with less oversight than major branded tech companies. Part of the problem isn’t just quality control but also the fact there are a massive number of them. Google chrome alone has around 190,000 different extensions, with half of those installed less than 16 times. While they have processes to keep users safe, it’s impossible to guarantee all extensions are secure. Some may contain malware or other malicious code that can be used to steal data like login credentials.
Additionally, it’s also possible for a once-safe extension to be hacked and then used to take a user’s business data. Due to that, it’s essential to be mindful of the extensions you install on your browser and only install extensions from trustworthy sources. Even if it has a high confidence level, be careful with it. When using a company device or computer, don’t install extensions or other software without running it by your IT department first.
Make Sure the Website Is Using a Secure Connection
One of the biggest risks of web browsers is using unsecured connections. With 2 billion different websites across the internet, a countless number of them are unsafe to use. Many websites and web apps use HTTPS (TLS) to encrypt data transmitted between the browser and the server. However, some still use unsecured connections, leaving your data vulnerable. To protect yourself, always look for the padlock icon in your browser’s address bar and make sure the website’s address starts with “https”.
Phishing Websites Are an Ongoing Threat
Phishing websites are a risk for web browsing because they are designed to trick users into entering sensitive information, such as login credentials and credit card numbers, by mimicking legitimate websites. These fake websites are often created to look like well-known sites, such as online banking sites, social media sites, or online shopping sites, to trick users into entering their personal information.
Criminals will send links to phishing websites through various means, such as email, social media, instant messaging, and even text messages. Once you’re on the fake website, they’ll often ask users to enter sensitive data. From there, that data is sent directly to the attackers, who can use it for things like identity theft, financial fraud, and more.
Outdated Software Can Leave Web Browsers Vulnerable
Another risk with web browsers is the need for patching. Like other types of outdated software, browsers must be updated regularly to fix security vulnerabilities. Yet only 42% of respondents in a 2019 Kaseya study said they installed updates within 30 days of a new patch. Using an outdated version of your web browser puts business data at risk of being exploited by hackers, no matter how short the time period. To protect yourself, ensure web browsers are updated to the latest version.
Your web browser can be a valuable tool for staying connected and accessing online content, but it also can put your business data at risk if not used properly. By keeping that in mind, you can help protect yourself and those around you through caution and cybersecurity awareness. It not only allows organizations to comply with regulations and laws but also helps defend a company’s reputation, finances, and competitive advantage.
While staying safe while web browsing can seem like a difficult task, IT companies like ITonDemand are there to support businesses every step of the way. They can provide routine patching, threat detection, firewall management, and other security measures. Some also offer penetration and vulnerability testing, which can discover issues early on. Whether improving online habits or partnering with IT experts, there are many ways to avoid putting business data at risk while web browsing.