Our browsers are complex pieces of software, with the most popular ones made up of millions of line of code. The priority of browser programmers is usability, so that there are no issues interfering with our ability to access the websites we want to access. However at the same time, browsers have to take into account the dangers that exist on the internet, which not all of us will be aware of. And even if we are aware, a lot of the time we will have no possible way to know a risk exists, because it is not a directly visible risk that we can observe.

With this in mind, browsers have been programmed to protect users whenever they feel that the user might be in danger, usually by putting up big colourful warnings to us that we may be in danger. However, a lot of users try to sidestep this and simply go forward to the website in question anyway. There is a lot of research on why this might be the case, but regardless of why, the fact is that this is not particularly clever behaviour. This is one of the most common ways in which malware gets onto computers, how how man-in-the-middle attacks allow attackers to fool other websites into believing they are really who they are pretending to be, and other unwanted outcomes.

Browser programmers do their very best to prevent false positives, that is to say, suggesting that there is a problem when there is not. This is because the last thing that they want is for us to start using other browsers due to getting fed up with unwarranted security warnings. For this reason, whenever a browser warns against going to a particular website, it is a good idea to heed this advice and find an alternative website to look at instead.

We need to know that the browser is far more likely to know what is going on under the hood than we can. If a browser suggests that we might be in danger, it is doing this based on an enormous amount of information that it has analysed, information which we are unable to see. By listening more to computers when they warn about threats, we can better protect ourselves against the many threats that exist on the internet today. So if this is something that you regularly do, remind yourself that the next time your browser warns you against something, it probably knows something you don’t, and that it is probably not a good idea to go against its warnings.