HTTPS/Browser Recommendations

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Network Security Matters

If you're reading this web page, that means HTTPS is working on your computer or mobile device. However, that's just a first step. Many older computers, mobile devices and/or web browsers only support outdated cryptographic methods that are becoming insecure in the face of modern attacks. This means that if you use an old web browser, you can still read pages on Wikipedia, but your browsing activity cannot always be encypted in a secure way.

Following the advice below will help you to make sure that you are using the best HTTPS cryptographic methods available today.

In the future, Wikimedia may require stronger minimum levels of cryptographic abilities from your computer or mobile device in order to access our sites like Wikipedia. Many other sites on the Internet are (or will be) doing the same. Keeping up-to-date with security updates from web browsers and operating systems will be essential for staying secure and continuing full access to all websites on the Internet.

Advice

For all users

  • Please make sure you have applied the latest security updates to your Operating System and Web Browser. Remember that for most browsers and devices, they will only be updated after you fully close them and restart them.
  • Disable (or uninstall) any 3rd party "Anti-Virus" software. Most of them do more harm than good when they interfere with your browser's secure connections.[1][2]

For users of Microsoft Windows

  • Windows XP
    • If you must use Windows XP, install and use Firefox 52 ESR instead of Internet Explorer to access our sites
    • Our sites no longer allow pageviews from IE-on-XP at all (other than a few minor exceptions like Wikitech itself, the site you're reading now).
    • If possible, please upgrade to Windows 7 or higher, or any other operating system available. Windows XP has very serious security flaws. Microsoft ended all technical support for this system version in 2014. [3] Microsoft provides no more security updates for the many flaws which have been discovered in Windows XP and its version of Internet Explorer after 2014.
    • Update 2017-08-17: More-detailed technical information about removal of IE-on-XP support from our projects by 2017-10-17 is available at HTTPS/3DES_Deprecation
  • Windows Vista - Microsoft no longer supports Vista, and does not provide security updates since April 2017[3].
  • Windows 7 through 10
    • Internet Explorer 11 is the only version of IE that is currently supported by Microsoft. There are no security updates for Internet Explorer 10 and older versions, since 2016.[4] These earlier versions also do not have modern HTTPS capabilities. It is highly recommended that you either upgrade to Internet Explorer 11, or the Microsoft Edge browser.
    • Alternatively, you can install and use a different browser: Firefox, Chrome, or Opera.
    • Please also ensure you stay up-to-date on security updates from Windows Update, and ensure you regularly upgrade your alternative browser if applicable.

For users of Apple Mac OS X

Upgrade your operating system to Mac OS 10.11 (El Capitan) or higher if your hardware supports it. If that is not possible, upgrade to the latest Mac OS release available for your computer, and consider installing an alternate secure browser instead of Safari. Such as Chrome, Firefox, or Opera.

For users of Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod

Upgrade to iOS version 9 (or higher) if supported on your device. If your device is too old for iOS 9, consider a device upgrade. Check to ensure you have the latest version of whatever browser you may use in the App Store.

For users of Android devices

Upgrade to the latest version of Android that is possible for your device. Consider a device upgrade if your Android software cannot be upgraded to at least version 4.4, which was initially released by Google in 2013. Check the Play Store (or vendor-specific app store) to ensure you've installed the latest updates to core components and the browser (usually Chrome).

For IT personnel that manage outbound Proxy appliances

Please ensure you are running the latest stable software release from your vendor, and that you keep up with this regularly. Please also consult your vendor and/or their documentation as to how you may need to configure your outbound proxy to support stronger TLSv1.2+ encryption with Forward Secrecy and AEAD ciphers.

Logs for Wikipedia have indicated that there are many requests from corporate desktop browsers that meet the version requirements of operating system, web browser, and device - but still suffer from downgraded cipher choice when communicating over the Internet due to outdated or poorly configured outbound proxies.

You may use an online tester to check which ciphers are supported by your the browser you are currently using, such as the one provided by Qualys (SSL Labs) or the DCSEC research group at Leibniz University Hannover.

References

See also