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How You Handle Cookies in Browsers Could Affect HTTPS Security

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Improper handling of cookies regardless of the browser that you use could have a negative effect on HHTPS security.

Hackers have found ways of using cookies to lure their unsuspecting victims to grant them success in computers, tablets and Smartphone devices. Hackers are capable of using cookies for extraction of sensitive information from a wide variety of encrypted HTTPS connections.

Causes of Vulnerabilities

The main reason for this level of vulnerability stems from the fact that web browsers have no way of authenticating the sites or domains responsible for setting cookies. The result is that hackers find a loophole for injecting cookies through plain HTTP connections. By injecting the fake cookies, hackers will have no problem doing any of the following tasks remotely as part of their cybercriminal activities:

  1. Hijacking users chats
  2. Stealing search histories
  3. Stealing credit card information
  4. Hijacking financial deposits
  5. Hijack associations such as BitBucket and Google OAuth
  6. Tracking and manipulating shopping carts on several e-commerce sites
  7. Tracking the user’s purchase history on Amazon.com

While this is happening, users will be frustrated to learn that they are vulnerable to such attacks regardless of the browser that they use. In this regard, using Google Chrome, Safari or Mozilla Firefox will not offer you much protection. The reason for this is that none of these well-recognized browsers currently offers any protection against attacks conducted by hackers or cyber criminals using cookie vulnerabilities, thus the reason some users prefer private browsing.

Banks and Search Engines Affected

The fact that cookie-related vulnerabilities affect some of the most trustworthy websites on the Internet today should be a concern to all users. Banks and some of the biggest search engines are vulnerable to attacks conducted using cookies. The implementation weaknesses that exist in the aforementioned major web browsers exacerbate the vulnerabilities further. The result of all these vulnerabilities includes privacy violation in addition to online victimization.

Cookie-related vulnerabilities thrive because of the ease with which cookies can traverse different websites in a way that no other protocol can. The best solution for this vulnerability remains implementation of HSTS, also known as HTTP Strict Transport Security at the server level. The only downside to the HSTS approach is that less than 5% of the leading 145,000 HTTPS websites on the Internet currently support HSTS.

On the other hand, all the web-browsers mentioned above owe it to their customers to prevent attackers from using sub-domains for generating malicious cookies. Users also need to identify ways of keeping themselves free, secure and safe from cookie-related attacks. Do not accept cookie requests from untrustworthy sites. Identify the best ways to manage your privacy. A complete blocking of the cookies could work only that it risks your experience on some sites.