Security and Privacy Wizard

Introduction

This guide will help you browse the web securely when you use the Samsung Internet web browser for Android. The tips are ordered with the things which are fundamental to browsing the web securely first. The latter tips are more focused on thoroughly preserving your privacy.

With that in mind, the most fundamental thing you can do is ensure you are using the most up-to-date version of the browser.

When your browser is up to date it has the latest patches and security features to ensure that you are protected whilst you browse the Web.

You can check if you have the most recent version of Samsung Internet installed by visitng the Settings screen in Samsung Internet and tapping on About Samsung Internet. There you should see a message "The latest version is installed" or instructions on how to update your browser.

The links below will let you download the latest version of Samsung Internet or Samsung Internet Beta, the Beta version is aimed at people who want to test the newest features in Samsung Internet. If you aren't sure which to pick just download "Samsung Internet".

Get it on the Galaxy Store
Install Samsung Internet
Get it on the Galaxy Store
Install Samsung Internet Beta
Next Page: Securing your browsing

Securing your browsing

By understanding who is trying to bypass your privacy and why it can really help you guard against it and make these tips make a lot more sense.

Your ISP or Wifi Provider

The people who are selling you internet access will often try to make a bit of extra money either by selling your browsing data or injecting adverts into your web pages.

If you are in a coffee shop using their wifi this is where attacks are the most dangerous. A malicious coffee shop may do a few harmful things:

Solution 1.

Secure websites, which start with "https://" cannot be tampered with. Your internet provider can only see the first part of the URL, the domain.

Look for the padlock symbol in the address bar to ensure that the website is https.

i.e. if your browser at https://example.com/site/index.html any intermediary parties can only see https://example.com

Solution 2.

Using a Virtual Private Network aka a VPN. VPNs are a paid service which masks all your browsing data. Your Internet Provider can see that you are using a paid VPN but all the other data is totally secure even "http:" sites!

Next Page: Malicious Websites

Malicious Websites

One of the biggest dangers of the Web are intentionally malicious web sites. These are a smaller risk than they used to be since these days as they often get omitted from search results. But still sometimes they will come up organically.

Be careful when you follow a link from an advert or from a dodgy site such as a piracy or pornography site. Sites with little legitimate means of generating income will sometimes make money by linking through to dodgy scam sites. You may encounter posts which link to content like this on social media too. So be careful.

Sites like this are usually going for something quite malicious such as wanting to install some software on your device so that it can be used in a bot net. Or used to steal your identity. Don't run or install any computer programs where the download link doesn't begin with 'https://' or where you do not trust the website or software author.

The final type of risky site you will encounter are spoof websites. If you receive a text saying it's from your bank, phone company, Samsung or Microsoft or your government with a URL there is a good chance it is fake.

A suspicious text message reading: ROYALMAIL: Your parcel has a £2.99 shipping fee. Visit: https://royal.maiI-deliverg-b338792.com/ to make a payment and avoid it being returned to the sender.
A scam text message note that the URL in the text message is not the official royal mail website RoyalMail.com

If you would like more information about fake URLs this article on the topic of fake URLs in SMS messages by Terrence Eden is a great place to start.

Solution

Most importantly, Never install any ".APK" files you download through the browser!

Samsung will try to keep you safe whilst browsing using Google's safe browsing service. This securely checks whether the website you are on is dangerous and will alert you if it is.

This feature is turned on by default so you don't need to do anything.

It's regularly updated with lists of new dangerous websites, but dangerous parties are always trying to make new dangerous websites so you should still remain vigilant.

If you ever see this message then the site you have just tried to go to has been identified as dangerous and you should probably go back.

Screenshot of a Website Reading: Deceptive site ahead Attackers on testsafebrowsing.appspot.com may trick you into doing something dangerous like installing software or revealing your personal information (for example, passwords, phone numbers, or credit card details). 
You can find out more about social engineering (phishing) at Social Engineering (Phishing  and Deceptive Sites) or from www.antiphishing.org
A screenshot of the sort of screen you see when you accidentally browse to a dangerous web site.
Next Page: Tracking Between Websites

Tracking Between Websites

Large advertising networks, such as Facebook and Google, provide services to websites like adverts, analytics, share buttons or widgets in exchange they are able to observe how you browser on their sites.

These advertising networks try to have tracking elements like these on as many sites as possible so they can track you from site to site and uniquely identify you.

This allows them to build a virtual consumer profile of you so that they can offer you targeted advertisements. This often gets called "better advertising" but can lead to some scary practices like using this data to charge more for car insurance to young men who look at car websites since they may be a higher risk.

Solution

The solutions for this are a bit more complicated because it's an arms race between advertising networks and web browsers. Where web browsers try to preserve your privacy and the advertising networks try to bypass this.

There are 3 things you can turn on in Samsung Internet to help with this.

Next Page: Smart Anti-tracking

Smart Anti-tracking

Smart Anti Tracking will try to block tracking cookies in a way which doesn't break the functionality of web sites. You can turn it on by following these steps:

  1. Open up the menu and select settings
  2. Select "Privacy and Security"
  3. Tap on "Smart Anti Tracking"
  4. Set to "Always"
A video showing the steps to take to turn on smart anti tracking.
Next Page: Ad Blocking

Ad Blocking

These Ad blocking capabilities use 3rd party blocking lists to stop 3rd party trackers and adverts from loading in your browser. To install an ad blocker do this:

Samsung Phones

Because Samsung phones have access to the Galaxy Store they can install extensions through the Samsung Internet browser itself. Open the menu and tap Ad-Blockers. Here you can turn on and install ad-blockers.

  1. Open up the menu and select "Ad Blockers"
  2. Tap on the down arrow to automatically install and enable ad-blockers
A video showing the steps to take to install ad blockers in Samsung Internet on Samsung Phones.

Non Samsung Phones

Non Samsung Phones need to install Ad-Blockers through the Play Store. Here are a few:

You can then use the Ad-Blocker menu to activate them in Samsung Internet.

  1. Open up the menu and select "Ad Blockers"
  2. Tap on the toggle switch to enable pre-installed ad blockers

You can turn on up to 5 ad blockers at the same time!

A video showing the steps to take to enable ad blockers in Samsung Internet on non Samsung Phones.
Next Page: Inhabilitar cookies de terceros

Inhabilitar cookies de terceros

Esta es una manera más extrema de prevenir el tracking basado en cookies, se realiza bloqueando cualquier cookie que no pertenezca al sitio web donde estás navegando. Las cookies de terceras partes son cookies que pertenecen a un dominio diferente del que se encuentra en la barra de direcciones del navegador. Por ejemplo si estás visitando la página "https://newspaper.com" y hay publicidad que llega a través de "https://adprovider.com", ellos usarán las cookies de terceros para rastrear información única que te pertenece. Si visitas otro sitio con cookies que pertenecen a adprovider.com, adprovider.com habilitará crear un perfil tuyo con una lista de sitios que visitas junto con su publicidad. Deshabilitar las cookies de terceros implica que estos anuncios o publicidad no puedan acceder a identificar ninguna información que puedan haber establecido como cookie en otro sitio.

Esta configuración puede alterar algunos websites en muy pocos casos, y esta es la razón por la cual no está habilitada por defecto, pero de todas formas mejorará tu privacidad a la hora de navegar por la web.

Esto previene la mayoría de las formas de trackeo. Se puede deshabilitar las cookies de terceros utilizando la siguiente configuración:page at:

SettingsSites and downloadsSite permissionsCookiesBlock third-party cookies

Video que muestra los pasos para deshabilitar las cookiess.
Next Page: Changing your search engine

Changing your search engine

You can type search queries into the address bar to search using one of a selection of popular search engines.

The search engine you use will know what terms you searched for and may use this to build an advertising profile about you. If you dislike this behavior you can switch to a more privacy aware search engines such as DuckDuckGo or Qwant.

You can switch between installed search engines by tapping on the icon in the search bar:

A video showing the how to swap search engine.

You can install additional search engines through the settings menu at:

SettingsSearch Engine+

A video showing how to install additional search engines.
Next Page: Samsung Internet keeps you safe

Samsung Internet keeps you safe

Steps Samsung Internet takes to keep you safe by default you can find most of these settings in

Settings ➔ Privacy and Security

These should all be turned on for the safest browsing experience:

Block backward redirections

Malicious websites will sometimes try to prevent you from leaving or send you to other pages when you try to leave by pressing the back button. This works by inserting malicious entries into your history stack.

This setting prevents this attack by blocking this ability.

Block Pop-ups

This blocks web pages trying to open new windows and tabs in the background as you browse the Web.

Block apps from opening Internet

Some bad apps on your phone will try to get your attention by repeatedly opening your default Web Browser on a spam Web Page. If you set your default Web Browser to Samsung Internet you can then block these apps from opening the browser so they cannot spam you.

Pressing this setting will list all the apps that recently opened the Web Browser, how many times each app opened the browser, then let you block the app.

Smart Anti-Tracking

Make sure it is set to "Always"

Smart Anti Tracking is covered in more detail on the Smart Anti Tracking section.

Warn About Malicious Sites

This should be turned on.

See Malicious Websites for more information.

Block Automatic Downloads

Prevents Web Sites from trying to sneakily download dangerous files.

Finger Printing Protection

Finger Printing Protection isn't a feature to turn on and off. It's a design principal in how the browser is built.

Fingerprinting is when websites collect data based on how you interact with your browser, or unique properties of your phone. If a website can uniquely identify this device it can track when you return or even when you browse other sites in some cases.

We try to prevent websites from uniquely identifying your device based on particular browser/device information. It's an ongoing process that gets better with each new version of the browser.