July 12, 2024

It depends on the correct setting in your browser

It depends on the correct setting in your browser


Whether it’s Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Apple Safari: the browser can do more than many users know. Photo: Andrea Warnecke / dpa-tmn

(Photo: dpa)

Caution is advised with extensions Advertising companies, for example, like to use so-called third-party cookies, which the browser saves. They try to follow users’ browsing behavior and learn their interests. As a result, the user receives, for example, personalized ads.

But this tracking can be blocked. Some browsers like Safari, Firefox, and Edge can do this out of the box. To do this, tracking blockers should only be activated in the settings under “Data protection and security,” says Joe Bagger of the specialist magazine “c’t”.

Comfort vs. Security

Cookies are not bad in themselves: they also mean some comfort when browsing, as they ensure that you do not have to re-enter certain data each time. In the end, they are small text files by which the user is recognized when he visits the page again.

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Arne Arnold of the specialized magazine “PC Welt” advises at least to block cookies from third-party providers, says third-party cookies, because this will prevent all partner pages of visited websites from leaving their own smell tag in the browser.

Another important setting for cookies in Chrome can be found under “Data protection and security”. There is a “Preload pages for faster browsing and search” setting, which is activated by default.

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“If this setting is activated, Chrome can automatically call up websites, and the user receives cookies from those pages, even if they never visit them,” warns Dennis Kochinky of Computer Bild. Users should not accept this.

Google search engine is not without alternatives

The entire data collection background is the browser providers’ business models. “Google lives from ads. So Chrome keeps track of everything that happens. Firefox in turn makes money using Google as a search engine,” explains Arnold.

Firefox users are therefore advised to deselect Google as the default search engine and use a search engine like Startpage instead. “The search results are the same, but the personal information is filtered,” Arnold says.

When it comes to convenience, many users also have personal bookmarks, which anyone can use to create a directory of sites that are most important to them. However, it is not related to the browser. “Transfer of bookmarks works between all the popular browsers. All you have to do is export the bookmarks as a file in the old browser and then import them in the new one,” explains Arnold.

Use the browser on all devices

It is practical to use your custom browser on all devices. “All major browser manufacturers allow tabs, bookmarks, passwords, and settings to be synced between the desktop browser and the mobile browser,” says Pager. However, users must ensure that they also encrypt the passwords with their own password, otherwise the browser manufacturer will be able to read it.

Caution is advised with extensions (add-ons) with which to extend the functionality of the browser. “The problem is: it can give the user extensive rights to many browser extensions in order for them to work,” says Baiger.

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Settings like “Allow this extension to read and change all my data on the websites I visit” are not uncommon. However, these extensions can also track the user and even use it as an attack tool, which has already happened in the past.