With multiple sites luring users with freebies and securing information through cookies, surfing online can be a difficult experience. If you’re a regular internet user, it’s important to boost your browser security. Here are some quick tips to secure browsing you can’t afford to miss.
- Installing adblockers like AdBlock Plus or uBlock Origin to avoid ads and ad-related malware.
- Deploying tools like Ghostery, Disconnect, or Privacy Badger to stay safe from online advertisers that try to track you.
- Use HTTPS to encrypt data for secure browsing.
- Use a VPN.
Of all the issues and cyber threats online out there, browser security often comes last in the list of user priorities. This is a real problem as browsers are the first targets for malicious hackers. After all, browsers are your first point of contact for interacting with the internet, whether it’s Googling, visiting blogs, shopping online, paying bills, or browsing social media channels. If a hacker breaks into your browser, all your details will be revealed to them.
Simple Tips to Secure Your Browsing Activities
Kaspersky reported that in 2017, there were 79,209,775 unique URLs that were malicious. The figures are just going worse. TrickBot, a banking malware Trojan that attacked users and corporations, was updated and more tricks were added to it. IBM’s expert security advisers have cautioned against this deadly malware with advanced banking manipulation tools.
Window to the Internet or an Open Door for Hackers?
Browser security is vital for keeping your data safe. The browser is your window to the internet. It is also the first line of protection against malware. Small modifications to browser security settings can make your sessions secure and safe.
Here’s what you must know about secure browsing:
Browsers use multiple tools for tasks. This includes software ranging across Java, Flash, ActiveX, and many more. They come with issues for browser security. Cybercriminals exploit all the security flaws to access your desktop. A quick understanding of such tools is essential to understand if they are required.
ActiveX is a pre-installed add-on for IE/Microsoft Edge. ActiveX is a link between your PC and Flash/Java-based interactions on some websites. This allows harmful sites to access your computer. Since not many websites use ActiveX these days if a website prompts you to download it, be very careful.
Cutting Out the Cookies
Cookies are tiny data-files stored on your computer. These are stored and used by websites for many reasons, from remembering account names to tracking your activities. They are dropped on your system to map your user behavior. Cookies are basic targets for cyber thieves and hackers.
By disabling and clearing cookies, you can eliminate personal data that can be accessed by cybercriminals. Remember, only first-party cookies are placed by the site visited. It is the third-party cookies that are the ones to watch out for as these are placed by advertisers and marketers or third-party sites monitoring your user behavior online.
Extensions for additional functionality such as blocking ads or using search bars are another way to secure your browser. But they pose a problem as they open windows that can be injected with malware. Make sure you download trusted extensions only.
Secure Browsing With HTTPS
HTTPS is a secure and safe version of the HTTP site. The ‘S’ stands for Secure. It means sites use the HTTPS to encrypt data between the site and your browser, making it harder for malware or hackers to intercept data. With HTTPS, you’ll see a small padlock icon in the address bar that indicates that this website is safe.
Additional Secure Browsing Tips
Use a VPN
Connecting to a virtual private network is crucial if you want to add an extra layer of security and privacy to all your browsing activities. A VPN allows you to encrypt your Internet traffic and even hides your public IP address. Keep in mind that not any VPN service provider will do. Don’t use free VPNs as they can jeopardize your private data. Trusted VPNs such as ExpressVPN and BulletVPN are the way to go.
Always update browsers
This is something that cannot be stressed enough. Browser flaws and vulnerabilities are discovered every single day, so you need to update your browser to prevent zero-day viruses from infecting it and your system.
Use a reliable antivirus
There are several antivirus solutions available in the market but make sure you get an antivirus that’s trusted by you. Prominent names in the security industry for finding the right antivirus programs include AV-Test, Virus Bulletin, AV Comparatives and PC Magazine.
Watch Out for Phishing
If you are being targeted in a phishing attack, it is important that you do not take the bait. Cybercriminals often trick users into clicking malware links by acting as real persons or legit businesses like your ISP or bank. Once the phishing link is clicked, malware infects your desktop.
Use Secure Passwords
If you use the same password on all accounts, compromising of one account will lead to the compromise of all accounts. It’s best to use different passwords for different accounts. Also, make sure your password cannot be guessed easily.
Keep Work Emails Separate
It’s important to keep personal emails separate from work email. Also, when you register on a new website, don’t give your work email for it. When the account information email is separate from the work email, cyber-criminals cannot lock you out of the project even if they are able to access your email account credentials.
Use Private Browsing
While connecting to public and Wi-Fi networks that are free, watch out for wireless sniffers that access data over unprotected networks. Use private browsing sessions for safety. That way, browsers won’t locally store credentials.
Monitor Bank Accounts
Ensure that your bank accounts issue alerts to help you monitor for unauthorized transactions or illegal activities.
If you want more tips to be safe online, read our post on the best encryption software.