Which browser do you use on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad? Most of Apple’s customers use Safari, and with more than a billion customers that means the app remains among the most popular on the internet.
What else do you use? The single most popular web browser on any platform except iOS and macOS is Google’s Chrome. What makes it so popular? It’s free, fast, and has many options. Chrome is also the target for more malware than Safari, Firefox, or all other browsers combined.
If you use Chrome, beware. No other major browser is infected with malware more than Chrome. How so?
First, let me share a definition of malware.
Malware (a portmanteau for malicious software) is any software intentionally designed to cause damage to a computer, server, client, or computer network.
Allow me to add to that definition. Malware affects users to their detriment. You can put ads that track users on the list of malware.
Malware does the damage after it is implanted or introduced in some way into a target’s computer and can take the form of executable code, scripts, active content, and other software.
See? Advertiser trackers fall into that definition because trackers collect user data and then use that information against the very browser users who gave it up so they could use a free browser.
Chrome, I’m looking at you.
The code is described as computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, and scareware, among other terms.
Advertising trackers. No browser has more built-in tracking capability than Chrome. How much? More on that in a moment.
Malware has a malicious intent, acting against the interest of the computer user.
The key there is malicious intent. That means trackers from advertisers, but there are other components which make Chrome a choice to avoid.
About a half a billion Apple iOS users (and counting) have been hit by session-hijacking cybercriminals bent on serving up malware.
Wait! What? iPhones and iPads can be infected by malware? How?
They’re exploiting an unpatched flaw in the Chrome for iOS browser, to bypass sandboxing and hijack user sessions, targeting iPhone and iPad users.
Google’s Chrome browser.
How can such malware hijacking occur on supposedly safe iPhones and iPads?
Session hijacking occurs when a user is browsing a web page and is suddenly redirected to another site or landing page, or when a pop-up appears that one can’t exit out of. The pages look like ads from well-known brands; but in reality, if a user clicks on one of them, a payload is deployed.
Browse safely, my friends. Unfortunately, similar malware attacks have infected Safari on iOS, so, while it pays to use a browser that is safer than Chrome (Firefox, Brave, Vivaldi, et al), it pays more to be careful where you browse.