Browsers Internet

7 Browser Security Tests to Try Out and Prevent Exploit Attacks

Saikat Basu 26-07-2010

<firstimage=”//” />browser securityTo draw a comparison, the internet is like the badlands of the Wild West. Full of opportunities but also a free-for-all, where you don’t know when the next attack is going to come from. The browser is one of the most vulnerable soft spots.


The browser remains our main porthole for viewing the web. It’s also the main entry point for malware, Trojans, and others browser attacks of their ilk. Then there are the plug-ins like Firefox add-ons, Active X controls etc. There are many ways for a malicious code to punch a hole through. One of the worst is the ‘Man-in-the-browser’ attack.

Let’s all be paranoid by default and get ourselves a good anti-virus and firewall to begin with. Then, it’s always a wise idea to keep our software and sundry apps patched with the latest security updates. But most of all it pays to keep eyes and ears open to what’s happening around us. The web may be like the badlands, but it also has heroic sheriffs and town marshals. A few online browser security tools play that role.


browser security

ScanIt puts your browser through [NO LONGER WORKS] 19 vulnerability tests. You can run all tests in one go, choose individual tests, or test for bugs specific to the browser (e.g. Firefox has 10 tests). The browser scanning tool supports Firefox, IE, and Opera. The [NO LONGER WORKS] FAQ will give newbies an idea of why browser vulnerability tests are important and the dangers of browser bugs.

Qualys Browser Check

browser security test


Qualys uses a plugin to check for exploit weaknesses in the browser. Qualys checks Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer for potential vulnerabilities and security holes in your browser and its plugins. It flags insecure and out-of-date versions that put you at risk with color codes like red for “˜Insecure’, or “˜Obsolete’.

For any item that is insecure or out of date, a Fix It button appears. Simply click the Fix It button to download the latest update to fix your security issue.


browser security test

BrowserScope to start off is a bit geeky. It is an Open Source online tool to compare your browser against the community and see how it fares on security, rich text implementation, network latency, web standards support, and JSKB tests. You don’t need to sign-in or download any plugins to run the tests.


You can compare all browsers on your computer and see how each scores. The table with the test results can also be used to see which browser in general is doing well. It seems Chrome is leading Firefox at least on security.


browser security test

Panopticlick checks if your browser’s configuration is unique. The more unique your browser, the less easily it could be tracked. Web tracking is a privacy risk for users. Online advertisers usually resort to web tracking to collect usage information. Panopticlick collects anonymous data and compares it against its own 5 million strong database to get the score.

Panopticlick is run by the Electronic Frontier Foundation to look into the privacy risks posed by web tracking.



browser security settings

ShieldsUP is a firewall monitoring and port scanning online tool. With detailed port testing, the scanning tool displays info on five categories – File Sharing, Common Ports, All Service Ports, Messenger Spam, and Browser Headers. You can also test individual ports (or sets) among the 65535 and lookup specific port information.

The real value of ShieldsUP is in the comprehensive information it provides on firewall security and what you need to shore up your defenses. You don’t need to register to run the tests.


browser security settings


PCFlank is a website that tries to ensure that we stay protected on all sides with its range of six tests (and a connection speed test). PCFlank has Stealth Test, Advanced Port Scanner Test, Trojans Test, Exploits Test, Browser Test (for privacy), and a Quick Test that covers the Advanced Port Scanner, Browser and Trojans Tests.

Firefox Official Plugin Check

browser security

Our Firefox browser may have more plugins or addons than fleas on a dog’s back. But outdated plugins pose the danger of a bite that’s worse than a flea. In 2008, we had the first news of a password stealing malware disguised as a plugin. Plugin exploit attacks can be because of poorly written extension code or deliberate design.

I am not sure if Firefox verifies the authenticity of each addon, but the least we can do as users is to keep the ones we have constantly updated. Firefox does it automatically, but the Plugin website is a help.

A browser is just one of the bits that make for a weak or strong computer system. From unsecure Wi-Fi to infected pen drives, a computer user has to monitor both the front and back doors. Fortunately the user has help in the form of more advanced browsers with anti-phishing features, pop-up blockers, private browsing, JavaScript disabling etc.

Some more help can come from our rich list of posts covering everything on computer security and safe browsing:

Know any other browser security test tools? Let us know in the comments.

Image credit: pasukaru76 (away for 2 weeks)

Related topics: Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Online Privacy, Opera Browser, Safari Browser.

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  1. By
    January 6, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    PCflank website is down.

  2. dssds
    November 1, 2016 at 5:48 am


  3. Nat Jay
    August 1, 2010 at 6:32 am

    I do most of OS security testing through Secunia. It's fast, simple and does a good job of revealing vulnerabilities.

    • Saikat Basu
      August 2, 2010 at 5:50 am

      Yes, it's not bad at all:) We have done an earlier coverage of it.

  4. Djeich1948
    July 28, 2010 at 11:35 am

    I gave up with ScanIt and Qualys Browser Check...neither one did a thing for me. Now ShieldsUp! was a totally different story...took less than two minutes and all is well.

    Don't know why it was taking so long with ScanIt..I have an extremely fast broadband connection. My machine and it simply weren't getting along and I'm not going to wait around for hours with no results.

  5. Djeich1948
    July 28, 2010 at 9:35 am

    I gave up with ScanIt and Qualys Browser Check...neither one did a thing for me. Now ShieldsUp! was a totally different story...took less than two minutes and all is well.

    Don't know why it was taking so long with ScanIt..I have an extremely fast broadband connection. My machine and it simply weren't getting along and I'm not going to wait around for hours with no results.

  6. Djeich1948
    July 28, 2010 at 6:09 am

    Lost power here for a couple of minutes, so I'm going to try the first one again, simply to see what happens this time around.

    • Saikat Basu
      July 28, 2010 at 7:57 am

      It shouldn't take that long at all. That is my test result you see in the screenshot, and it took just about 3 minutes and I have a slow 256kbps connection.

  7. Djeich1948
    July 28, 2010 at 3:27 am

    I agree, there are great links here. People need to be aware however, that the scan process can take several hours as in close to 24 now for me, depending on which one you decide to use.

    • Saikat Basu
      July 28, 2010 at 5:09 am

      Which test is that one? It shouldn't take 24 hours by any counts.

      • Djeich1948
        July 28, 2010 at 5:38 am

        The first one.

  8. Juscelino M. Acevedo
    July 27, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    These are some great links to testing that the majority of people never really consider. We care about viruses and spyware and malware, etc, but unless you're a techie person you just think that your browser either works or it doesn't. Thanks for the links.