Be safe by heeding Browser Warnings

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Browser Security Errors

Browser warnings occurs only when a browser find a problem in site either related to Malware, phishing warning or SSL certificate warning. In a study prepared by Google and Berkeley University showed that majority users avoid such warnings and become victim of cyber attacks. It is in the interest of users to focus on browser security warnings to prevent cyber attacks. Google and Berkeley University have analyzed over 25 million warning impressions from Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers in the year 2013.

Concern over SSL Warnings:

The report is about three browser warnings including SSL, Malware and phishing warning, among these three warnings, SSL warnings stand out with the highest click through rate in Chrome browser. There are several SSL warnings like domain name mismatch, expired certificate, untrusted certificate, mixed content error and revoked certificate that can influence users as well online business owners. The study present in report further states that Chrome users have high ratio of ignoring SSL browser warnings.

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  • The study reveals that in Chrome users have 70.2% high ratio of click through on SSL warnings than any other errors. While Firefox had 33% click through rate on SSL warnings.
  • In Firefox, there are three stages for SSL warning like “I understand the risk”, “Add Exception” and “confirm security Exception” while In chrome, it shows a single button to continue.
  • It is notable that chrome presents warnings every time and does not remember the user’s past selection while Firefox remembers past user’s selection.
  • According to report, Chrome recorded 1,67,04,666 SSL warnings and Firefox recorded 10,976 SSL warnings that show huge difference and point out user awareness about SSL warnings.

Why Warnings Happens?

The reason for more clicks through rate for Chrome goes to placement of errors details. Chrome places error details in “main text” of its SSL warnings while in Firefox, SSL errors come under “Technical Details” instead of Primary warnings that creates little impact on user’s click through ratio. If Firefox moves this error details to primary warning then it can reduce further click through rate for additional errors.

Precaution You Should Take:

A study also discovered that number of people tired from getting such warnings and they started to avoid them. When such avoidance becomes habit, it invites malicious attack so it is necessary to alert people, when they observe any kind of warnings that shown below in info-graphic. As we previously discussed about “customers’ security at risk on eCommerce websites“, this report emphasizes on reading the warnings carefully and take them seriously instead of avoiding it. Do not blindly click on warnings as it may happen malicious attacks on your website even users also become victim of online attacks.

do-not-avoid-browser-warning

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