Web browser security

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Links to malicious websites

Open wikis have a one unavoidable security vulnerability; anyone can put a link to any web page. A malicious web page can contain a browser exploit. The links with nothing beside them, link to this wiki, so Lumenos guesses that these should be safer (see "improving browser security", below). But links that have something next to them such as an arrow like "this" or a secure symbol like "this" may lead to a web site with an (automatic) browser exploit. Note that Lumenos usually puts links to secure Wikipedia, to give the readers more privacy when viewing Wikipedia.

You can usually see where external links go by moving your pointer over the link and looking at what appears in the status bar. You may also want to disable JavaScript from altering the status bar text. In Firefox 3, you can find this option under Tools / Options / Content / (next to "Enable JavaScript") Advanced button / "Change the status bar text". If you use Internet Explorer and you're concerned about security (or stability) Lumenos suggests downloading a different browser and checking its identity certificate before installing.

Improving browser security

You are reading a MediaWiki wiki. According to Secunia's database, there are currently, no unpatched vulnerabilities in MediaWiki version 1, with all updates installed. Lumenos has not checked to see if all updates are installed. There is a good chance this does NOT include exploits a wiki editor is able to put an in a MediaWiki wiki. For example, the Wikipedia has some pages with Flash components. That may mean that any vulnerability of Flash can be used to exploit the Wikipedia.

These may decrease the risk of a browser exploits:

  • Use a antivirus software with a virus shield/guard that is always running (there are free ones available with this feature). If you download one consider not installing it unless it has an identity certificate.
  • Get all security updates for your operating system and web browser.
  • Disable java in your web browser (you probably are not using it anyway).

Disabling scripting should give you more safety but this can cause many sites not to work. It may also disable security features of certain sites. Scripting should be enabled when downloading/installing add-ons from the main Mozillia repository, Lumenos forgets why exactly, something like it doesn't verify the extention. But with most sites disabling scripting in Firefox will probably prevent Flash and a number of other spiffy security risks. The FlashBlock add-on is also useful to make Flash components only run if you click on them. However, downloading any unsigned software may put you at risk for a man-in-the-middle attack.

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