SafeBrowser Help

Help Contents

About DefCloud SafeBrowser
Why Use DefCloud SafeBrowser
When to Use DefCloud SafeBrowser
How to Use DefCloud SafeBrowser
Using DefCloud SafeBrowser Directly
Searching With DefCloud SafeBrowser
Using the SafeBrowser Browser Extension
SafeBrowser Controls
The SafeBrowser InfoBar
About Page Information
Using Page Load Options
The SafeBrowser Web Advisory Service

About DefCloud SafeBrowser

The DefCloud SafeBrowser service is an online internet security service through which you can view any site free of JavaScript, Java applets, cookies, Flash animation, and optionally most adverts.

Malware (viruses, trojans and worms) are an unfortunate fact of life, and much more widespread than you might think. Malware authors used to focus mainly on individual users, but with more advanced operating systems and antivirus applications, many of these authors now target the servers of the actual websites you might visit. By just simply visiting a compromised web server, you could possibly download much more than the web page you actually intended to browse.

This problem is widespread and very difficult to deal with. The main language of the web, JavaScript, can be obfuscated and disguised such that most antivirus applications very often cannot detect many if not most of the malware circulating on the web today.

We can only hope that the owners of the larger websites are constantly vigilant and protect their websites and servers from attack, but what about the smaller less well known websites? Very often these are the easiest sites for malware authors to target.

SafeBrowser offers you another tool by which you can browse many websites. SafeBrowser automatically removes all JavaScript except some known good JavaScript, as well as java applets, flash and ativex controls, and any other possible sources of viral payloads. So even if you do visit a site which has been intentionally or unintentionally compromised, all the script will have been removed and the page rendered safe (within SafeBrowser only!)

This does mean that some websites that rely exclusively on JavaScript cannot be used within SafeBrowser, and many websites that rely partially on JavaScript may not work properly. SafeBrowser is useful for general browsing and exploring of sites, especially those that may not be so well known to you and which might pose more of a risk.

Please note that "Safe!*" means "Safe to the best of our knowledge". We cannot vouch for the safety of images your loaded page downloads from external servers. Please also note that "Safe!*" means "Safe within the SafeBrowser service. We cannot vouch for the safety of the page if viewed outside SafeBrowser

Why Use DefCloud SafeBrowser

Browsing the web is a risky business. Unfortunately, most of us are blissfully unaware of the risks we take when we browse the web. The simple fact is that huge numbers of web servers have been infected with what's known as drive-by malware. It's just sitting there waiting for you to find it. It is in fact malware authors favourite attack venue for getting their key-logging, password stealing or bot making software onto your computer.

You may think that having an antivirus application on your computer is enough to keep you protected, but that is just not the case. Antivirus applications were a good solution to yesterday's threat... virus infected files and applications. But antivirus applications are poor at detecting the myriad numbers of viruses out there in the wild web today. They are just too well disguised and their signatures change too fast for the antivirus applications to keep up.

So, a new type of solution is needed to help keep your computer safe. That new solution is DefCloud SafeBrowser

When To Use DefCloud SafeBrowser

People use the internet for a variety of purposes, but the most common uses of the web are for 1) Email, 2) Social Networking, and 3) General browsing or surfing. SafeBrowser was designed to help with the last of these activities.

One can only hope that the operators of the bigger sites on the web actively take steps to keep their web servers free of malware and up to date with the last software patches. But what about the operators of the less well known sites. Very often these sites are just not kept up to date and as such are a malware authors dream.

Simply put, whenever you are about to click on a link that may take you to one of these less well known sites, you should right click instead and choose the option Open Link in SafeBrowser (assuming you have the browser extension installed, if not then right click on the link, copy it, then load SafeBrowser separately and paste the link into the SafeBrowser address bar). It takes some practice and some getting used to, but it is simply the best and safest way to keep those viruses off your computer

Very often, after viewing the site in SafeBrowser, you need do nothing more than just go back to your regular browsing. If however the site doesn't display properly or you want to do more on the site than SafeBrowser allows (like add a product to a cart etc), then check the status of the site. If everything looks fine then click the button to view the site in a normal browser window.

How To Use DefCloud SafeBrowser

There are a number of ways that you can use the DefCloud SafeBrowser service...

  • Directly by loading the service into a browser and then typing or pasting the address of a site you wish to visit
  • Searching directly inside the DefCloud SafeBrowser service
  • Browsing or searching in a normal browser window and then using the browser extension to load a link into the SafeBrowser service

Each option is explained in more detail below...

Using DefCloud SafeBrowser Directly

The simplest way to use SafeBrowser is to just type address of the site you wish to view into SafeBrower's address bar, just as you would type into the browser address bar when viewing pages outside of SafeBrowser.

Searching With DefCloud SafeBrowser

When starting a search, you can enter your search terms into the new DefCloud search bar at the right of the DefCloud toolbar. Here there is also a small drop down that lets you choose from Google, Yahoo, Bing or Wikipedia as your search engine of choice.

Alternatively you can simply type your search criteria directly into the Address bar, which results in SafeBrowser entering that criteria into a Google search

Afterwards press Enter or click on the button to the load page

Using the SafeBrowser Extension

The SafeBrowser extension offers one of the easiest ways to use SafeBrowser. Simply browse the web as you would normally do, then either

1) Right click on a link to a site you're not sure of and open it using the "Open Link in DefCloud SafeBrowser" option in the drop down menu,
2) Click on the Open page in DefCloud SafeBrowser to view the page you are currently viewing in SafeBrowser.

3) At any time you can click the Exit DefCloud SafeBrowser button to view the page you are currently looking at in a normal browser window. Note though that this button is disabled for sites categorized as SUSPICIOUS or HIGH RISK.

SafeBrowser Controls

This indicates that you are viewing the page in SafeBrowser securely, privately and anonymously
Use this button to create new SafeBrowser tab panels.
Web page status bar. This bar tells you the status of the web page just loaded.
Home page. If you are logged in and have set a home page, then clicking this button will alternate between your chosen home page and the SafeBrowser Home Page, otherwise it just displays the SafeBrowser Home Page
Takes you to the previous page viewed in that tab panel
Takes you to the next page in the tab panel you are currently using
The Address Bar is used to type in the web page address (url) for a page you wish to view. It can also be used to directly type in search terms, which invoke the Google search service.
Reloads the current web page in the tab panel you are currently using
Loads the page you are currently viewing in SafeBrowser into a normal web page (outside of SafeBrowser). This button is disabled for web pages from websites categorized as SUSPICIOUS or HIGH RISK
The Go button loads the page for any address you type into the Address Bar
Shows or hides the SafeBrowser InfoBar. See InfoBar below
Displays the DefCloud Settings window

The SafeBrowser InfoBar

The SafeBrowser InfoBar is a vertical area to the right of every SafeBrowser window, that holds small controls commonly known as portlets. The SafeBrowser InfoBar has two of these portlets, The Page Information portlet and the Page Load Options portlet

To view the SafeBrowser InfoBar, and the portlets it contains, click the button

About Page Information

The Page Information portlet is a very useful advisory tool you can use to get a better understanding of what the web page you are viewing is actually doing.

Most other web reputation services can tell you the reputation and category of the web page you are viewing or about to view. SafeBrowser goes one step futher. SafeBrowser can tell you where the original URL you typed or clicked has redirected to, and can then give you the reputation of the redirected site as well. Furthermore, very often, web pages will load additional HTML content from third party sites, and sometimes these third party sites are the cause of the malware infection, not the original page. SafeBrowser informs you about what third party sites a page has visited (and their redirections if any as well), and it also tells you their category or reputation as well.

SafeBrowser then, gives you the overall status/reputation of the page you are viewing, based on its own reputation plus the reputation of the third party sites it has visited.

SafeBrowser will display this icon to indicate the original page corresponding to the web address you typed or clicked on. You should only ever see one of these per page. This icon can appear in one of five colours, the colour indicates what status or reputation the original page or website has. More information about the colours and their status can be found in the SafeBrowser Web Site Advisory Service section below.
This icon will be displayed by SafeBrowser to indicate that the page you are viewing has loaded content from a third party site (normally in a frame or iframe). This icon can also appear in one of five colours dependent on the reputation of the third party site that was visited.
This icon is displayed by SafeBrowser to indicate that either a main page OR it's third party content has redirected somewhere else. In order to give you the full picture, SafeBrowser conducts all redirections on the server before presenting you with the final content and an analysis of what third party content has been loaded and the redirections have been performed.

Using Page Load Options

The Page Load Options window lets you specify exactly how you would like the SafeBrowser service to process the page you are about to load. Many individual options allow you to tailor how each page appears. The last set of settings you use will be reused for any additional pages you subsequently go on to load.

Press Enter or click on the button to the load the page according to your preferred option

An upcoming version of SafeBrowser will allow you to set options for specific sites and have those options stored for future reference.

Option Description
SafeBrowser default The SafeBrowser default option removes all JavaScript except JavaScript that is known to be safe. SafeBrowser maintains a small but growing database of small known good generic JavaScript commonly used in many sites. As we add to this list many sites will start behaving a little better in SafeBrowser. SafeBrowser automatically removes all other (non JavaScript) scripts, java applets, activeX content, flash content, silverlight content, animated gif images, blocks cookies and 100% of all pop ups with this option.
Extreme Clean (Text only) This is absolutely the safest way to view a site. With this option SafeBrowser strips everything from the page except text.
Severe Clean (Text and images only) With this option you get text and images and absolutely nothing else.
Strong Clean (Text, images, basic html) With this option you get text and images and some basic formatting.
Custom Custom options allow you to customize exactly what how the page should be processed before delivery to your computer. Use with caution!
Remove adverts By default this option is not selected. Select to remove all adverts from a web page. Note, however, this feature is still in its infancy, so please inform us via the upcoming forum of any ads that still get through after this option is selected.
Remove all scripts Selecting this option removes absolutely every script, regardless of whether or not it is in our database of safe scripts. Deselecting this option means that all scripts are allowed. Deselect this option with extreme caution! Allowing JavaScript to run within SafeBrowser pages is a security risk and can lead to the page breaking free out of SafeBrowser.
Remove java applets Remove java applets. Long known to be a frequent source of malware. Deselect this option with extreme caution.
Remove activeX content Removes all types of activeX content
Remove flash content Remove flash content. Many websites however depend on flash and will not work at all with flash removed. Deselect with caution
Remove silverlight Removes silverlight content
Remove animated GIF Removes (most but not 100% of) those annoying little animated images designed to distract you from reading your page.
Block cookies Cookies are little files that sites use to store preference information etc., but can also be used by sites to track your browsing habits and history. Although sites are required to request permission for them to be used, you still have no idea what they are doing once you allow sites to deploy them. SafeBrowser automatically blocks all third party cookies. This option cannot be currently be disabled.

The SafeBrowser Web Advisory Service

DefCloud SafeBrowser has a web advisory service that let's you know the category and rating of any site you view. This information helps you to determine how safe a site might be for browsing outside of SafeBrowser, while browsing that same site safely within SafeBrowser.

Please note that If you are the owner of a site and are unhappy with either the classification or the rating please email us and we will look into it for you.

The service rates sites in five different reputation grades. Please note that the categories shown in the images below are examples only, and not meant to convey the rating for sites of those categories generally.

Please also note that even the most safest sites can sometimes still get hacked. The question then becomes, how quickly do these sites identify and remove the malware that may infect their servers and have you visited their sites before that malware was removed? It's always best to remain vigilant.

These are well known sites with strong security practices, and rarely exhibit characteristics that expose the user to security risks. There is a very low probability that the user will be exposed to malicious links or payloads.
These are benign sites, and rarely exhibit characteristics that expose the user to security risks. There is a low probability that the user will be exposed to malicious links or payloads.
These are generally benign sites, but have exhibited some characteristics that suggest security risk. There is some probability that the user will be exposed to malicious links or payloads.
These are suspicious sites. There is a higher than average probability that the user will be exposed to malicious links or payloads.
These are high risk sites. There is a high probability that the user will be exposed to malicious links or payloads
SafeBrowser uses a third party web service to determine the reputation and category of various websites. If that web service is down or not operating properly then SafeBrowser will display a Service Unavailable sign until it is operational again.