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Web Browser Hardening Recommendations

We recommend changing your browser settings in the University at Buffalo computing environment for added safety precautions.

Operating System: All

Applies To: UB students, faculty, staff, alumni, retirees and volunteers

Last Updated: September 9, 2016

Before implementing recommended changes, each setting should be carefully examined. Don’t implement any settings without first testing it in a non-production environment. The entire process for each browser may take several minutes to even hours (especially if you’re doing this for the first time), depending on the level of security enhancement you’ve chosen.

Before applying system changes, consider the following important issues:

  • As you take each action or simply audit applicable areas throughout the steps, document each change you make.
  • Although recommendations will lead to significantly a more secure browser, keep in mind that no Internet browser is completely immune from well-seasoned hackers whose tools and techniques are becoming increasingly sophisticated and detrimental.

Preliminary Requirements

  1. Read University at Buffalo's IT Use Policies.
  2. Apply all security hotfixes, or patches, to date for each browser used.
  3. Apply updates to all third-party plug-ins installed such as Adobe Flash, Adobe Shockwave, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microsoft Silverlight, etc. using HFNetChkPro.

Browser Hardening Recommendations

This website explores the basics of web browser features and risks, including a discussion of the most commonly exploited features such as Active X, Java, plug-ins, cookies, JavaScript, and VBScript. In addition, it offers step-by-step recommendations for securing a number of commonly used browsers including Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari.

Browser Plug-In Security

An attack can exploit a flaw in a piece of software, known as a plug-in, upon which your Web browser relies, such as a PDF viewer or a Java application.  

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