Is Safari an insecure browser?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Texas_Toast, Nov 13, 2016.

  1. Texas_Toast macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #1
    In the past I had heard that you shouldn't use Safari as it was insecure.

    Is this still true?

    What do you think is the best browser for SECURITY?

    What do you think is the best browser for PRIVACY?
     
  2. bbrks macrumors 65816

    bbrks

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    #2
    The same as with all the other browsers....as long as you know what you are doing :)
     
  3. Superspeed500 macrumors regular

    Superspeed500

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    #3
    I prefer Firefox for this reassons:
    • Committed to privacy.
    • Not part of a comercial company that want to earn money on you.
    • Open source.
    • Works on most platforms.
    • Working bookmark sync.
    • Lot's off functionality.
    I use Mac, Linux, iOS and Windows. I do therfor need a browser that does all of those platforms.
     
  4. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #4
    I agree with what you say, and that has been my stance in the past.

    My only gripe about FireFox is that it seems to crash an enormous amount of the time starting about 3 years ago. It seems very unstable and buggy and that made me switch to Chrome, but I still worry about the money factor when it comes to privacy in Chrome.

    I have stayed away from Safari because in the past I had read it was insecure.
     
  5. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

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    #5
    I use safari and have done for years with no problems: I find it stable, fast and convenient. Where did you read it was insecure?
     
  6. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #6
    Oh I don't have any links, but in years past that was pretty much conventional wisdom.

    Because the Internet and threats and browsers change so often, this is probably a hard topic to get a really accurate answer on.
     
  7. rshrugged macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    I guess this is slightly off-topic, but you're the OP and you started it. haha

    I've used Fx for several years in various OSes and haven't had a single crash. Something must've been screwy with your install, or you had software conflicts, or maybe because of the extensions you were using, etc...

    In recent times, I've not read that Safari is insecure. One thing in its favor is its sandboxing capability. Even though Fx still doesn't use sandboxing, from a security/privacy standpoint, I prefer it to Safari partially because of the extensions NoScript and uBlock Origin.
     
  8. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #8
    Do your fears about a for-profit company providing a browser extend to Apple's Safari?
     
  9. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

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    #9
    I think there were some issues years and years ago (particularly on Windows) and some controversy about Safari being slow to adopt EV Certificate identification, but that's all pretty much in the past. Looking up CVE stats for Safari, Chrome and Firefox shows Safari with the lowest number of vulnerabilities overall and the lowest in each of the last 3 years and no exploits since 2010 (to be fair, neither Chrome nor Firefox have had an exploit either since 2010, but the number of vulnerabilities is far higher)

    http://www.cvedetails.com/product/2935/Apple-Safari.html?vendor_id=49
    http://www.cvedetails.com/product/15031/Google-Chrome.html?vendor_id=1224
    http://www.cvedetails.com/product/3264/Mozilla-Firefox.html?vendor_id=452


    There are many reasons to prefer a browser other than Safari, but I wouldn't be overly concerned that it's any less secure than the competition
     
  10. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #10
    As I asked above, do you think there is a profit motive with Apple that could provide a less secure or private browser in Safari, or is that just a Google and Chrome issue?
     
  11. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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  12. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #12
    Okay, but what are your thoughts about Safari?
     
  13. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    #13
    Use it everyday! Never had a problem with smart browsing!
     
  14. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #14
    How do you think Safari compares to Chrome and Firefox as far as privacy and security go?
     
  15. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    #15
    Google tracks you and Crome sucks on a Mac!
     
  16. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

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    #16

    I don't think it's an issue with either Safari or Chrome to be honest: Google want to monetise your browsing habits by selling targeted ads, but they would have nothing to gain (and a lot to lose) if they deliberately introduced vulnerabilities into their browser - they get enough data legitimately without having to do anything underhand.

    As for Apple, it would be commercial suicide to do that as they have made a massive noise recently about how they value their customer's privacy and if they were up to no good then it would be discovered pretty quickly and would possibly destroy them
     
  17. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #17
    I've been happy with performance of Chrome on my old cMBP. It is definitely more stable than Firefox.

    Somewhat off topic, but if you are not logged into your Google account, can Google still track you in Chrome?
    --- Post Merged, Nov 13, 2016 ---
    As just asked, if you aren't logged into Google, then is there any way to track people?

    In the past I use Firefox and Chrome and I stay logged out of Chrome so it isn't tied to my account.

    As you can see, I am no privacy or security expert, but I am trying to learn! :)

    My gut says that Firefox is the most private and secure browser out of the major browsers, but the more I Google this topic the more I see there really aren't any definitive reviews or answers on this topic, which is why I thought I'd ask you all.
     
  18. KALLT, Nov 13, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2016

    KALLT macrumors 601

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    #18
    I find that a very empty commitment. Firefox sends diagnostic reports by default (for every user) and it defaults to Google Search. It also accepts all cookies by default. At least Safari blocks third-party cookies by default. I also find Firefox’s settings menus (and Chrome’s!) pretty terrible and it is easier to configure Safari from scratch.

    I don’t think there are particular risks with Safari, but the browser is not the privacy enthusiast’s first choice. You cannot set the user agent to something else permanently and I think Apple could do more about cookies and local storage. I am currently using the app Cookie to periodically delete cookies and local storage from my non-favourite websites. I think it is absolutely shameful that browsers keep all cookies until they are either cleaned manually or expire (many websites set ridiculous expiration times, such as 10 years). There should be a middle-ground, such as a reasonable, maximum expiration time and an option to keep cookies from websites you have in your favourites or visit frequently.
     
  19. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #19
    Sounds like there is no clear judgement on Safari (or other browsers). :(
     
  20. KALLT macrumors 601

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    #20
    The best browsers for privacy are not the mainstream ones. Look for other third-party browsers. There are browsers that are built upon the source code of Chromium and Firefox, such as Brave. As for security, there are currently no browsers that are particularly vulnerable or problematic. If you are always running the latest versions available and in the case of Safari are also running it on the latest version of OS X, then there is no problem on that end.
     
  21. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #21
    So maybe my concerns are outdated...
     
  22. KALLT macrumors 601

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    #22
    It seems so. Safari used to have a poor reputation when it had no process separation and sandboxing. This was also a huge problem on iOS, where the browser mostly ran with elevated privileges. These are different times.
     
  23. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

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    #23
    As soon as you visit a website someone is likely trying to track you for the purposes of analytics, determining your browsing habits to target adverts at you, etc, etc

    If that's a major concern to you then I wouldn't recommend using any of the major browsers as none of them are particularly good at stopping all forms of tracking (this isn't the same as being insecure though as this sort of tracking doesn't use vulnerabilities in your browser, but things like cookies, etc).

    Personally, I try not to worry too much about advertising companies tracking me, but If you're wanting a browser that's more careful with your privacy, have a read of this: http://www.techworld.com/security/best-8-secure-browsers-2016-3246550/
     
  24. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #24
    When I ran the Setup Assistant on my new rMBP, what data was being sent over the Internet to Apple?

    The motivation for this thread is that at the time I was worried about using Safari and the library's free wifi.
     
  25. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

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    #25
    Have a read of this - http://www.apple.com/legal/privacy/en-ww/ - that explains what data they collect under what circumstances

    Personally, I never, ever use public WiFi (I always tether to my phone or iPad) because there are far more risks to your security doing that than any browser choice: It's trivially easy for someone to spoof a public WiFi hotspot and you're then sending all your data to someone who has nefarious desires on your data. Have a read here for more info: https://blog.lookout.com/blog/2016/04/21/spoofed-wi-fi-60-minutes/
     

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