In yesterdays CSS-Tricks column Random Interesting Facts on HTMLSVG usage CSS-Tricks, Catalin Rosu explains something I’d never heard before, and it can be pretty important:

target=_blank w/ or w/o rel=noopener

43,924,869 of the anchors we analyzed are using target=”_blank” without a rel=”noopener” conjunction. In this case, if rel=”noopener” is missing, you are leaving your users open to a phishing attack and it’s considered a security vulnerability.

Anchor/Link Count
[target=_blank] 43,924,869
[rel=noopener] 40,756
[target=_blank][rel=noopener] 35,604


When using target you should consider adding rel=”noopener noreferrer” to avoid exploitation of the window.opener API.

Ben Halpern and Mathias Bynens also wrote some good articles on this matter and the common advice is: don’t use target=_blank, unless you have good reasons.

I may need to rethink how I often I use target="_blank". Lately I’ve been creating slide presentations using reveal.js and I include links in the slide show; I think it’s easier for students if I open up a new tab rather than interrupting the flow of the slide show.

I think for those, I’ll go ahead an add the recommended rel="noopener noreferrer". But elsewhere, I’ll consider curtailing my use of target="_blank"