Browser security gets a boost with updates to Chrome and Firefox for Android

It is now possible to enable HTTPS secure browsing on every website using Firefox for Android, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has announced.

The concept of ‘HTTPS Everywhere’, as it is called, is a simple one: every connection your browser makes is encrypted, not just those websites that normally protect their traffic. Previously, the technology was only available on the desktop version of Firefox.

The technology guards against unwittingly opening insecure connections, particularly under unfamiliar Wi-Fi networks, and EFF point out that it could safeguard your data from everyone from the NSA and Internet Service Providers to hackers and cybercriminals. But it’s worth remembering it only works with websites that support HTTPS themselves.

Unfortunately the option is not available to Apple users, as Mozilla’s products are currently blocked from the App store. Mozilla makes the Firefox browser and Thunderbird email client.

Elsewhere in browser security, Google has unveiled a Chrome feature that warns Windows users if their browser has been hacked by any form of malware, spyware or adware.

In the Chrome blog, Linus Upson, Vice president of engineering at Google Chrome, explains the problem mostly lies with authentic software downloads that come bundled with malicious or simply unwanted software that changes your browser settings. He also notes that browser settings hijacking “remains our number one user complaint”.

A prompt will now appear in Chrome if any software has attempted to change your settings without permission, offering you the chance to ‘re-set’ the browser. Doing this will also “disable any extensions, apps and themes you have installed”, Upson warns however.

Independent security expert Graham Cluley hailed the move, pointing out how “irritating” browser hijack could be, and noting that such malware can be incredibly hard to remove. He also noted that bundled browser malware can go beyond irritation, “redirecting search queries and displaying sponsored links all with the intention of earning more revenue for the people behind them”.

Author Staff Writer, ESET

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