Unsafe browsers in Firefox and Opera due to their request for access to a device’s camera and microphone

Internet browsers are what they are: to allow the display of information retrieved from the Internet either through direct access to a webpage or through a search engine. Hence, for their design purpose, Internet browsers do not need access to a device or laptop’s microphone or camera.

 

Firefox and Opera are two important alternative browsers in a market dominated by just five main Internet browsers: Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari, and Opera. I have observed that both Firefox and Opera mobile Internet browsers for Android request for permission to access a mobile device’s camera and microphone. This opens up the risks of the browser being taken over by malware infected websites capable of obtaining access to a device’s camera and microphone through an affected web browser.

 

The same behavior is also observed in desktop versions of Opera. Although under the “Settings” of the browser, access to the microphone and camera of the laptop or desktop could be curtailed through disapproving the setting, it nevertheless opens up the question, in the user’s mind, why did the browser want to allow websites to gain access of the laptop or desktop’s camera and microphone in the first place. For the need to allow voice and camera input during video conferencing, dedicated programs (not utilizing the Internet browser) such as Skype exist due to the need to better safeguard the privacy and security of the user.

 

Category: Internet, communication security, information security,

Tags: Internet browser, Firefox, Opera, camera, microphone, video conferencing, dedicated video conference program, malware infected websites,

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