Our computer’s health and our financial security online are only as strong as the immune system. Eliminating our interaction with the outside world will help in the probability of getting sick, but it does make one a recluse.
In this internet era, it is impossible not to succumb to the call of social networking and social media sites, and the intriguing world that the World Wide Web offers. As we get drawn deeper into the web, the longer we stay, the more susceptible we become to the threats in this cyber world.
We reach into the internet through browsers that communicate with servers and return information that computers will decode. We trot around cyberspace oblivious of the threats that are looming to infect our system and collect our personal information for identity theft, web analytics, internet marketing, and a whole lot more dubious reasons. When the browser is vulnerable, attackers gain access to install malware, trojans, and viruses that can harm your computer and undermine your financial stability.
Follow these methods to keep your browser secure and your personal information intact:
- Configure your Browser Settings
Your browser security is your first line of defense against perpetrators, all you have to do is make sure you follow these settings:
- Deleting cookies eliminate the important data like passwords and account information that can be stolen when hacked.
- Deactivate Active X. AciveX is the bridge between your browser and the script that runs various programs including pop-ups and spam
- Purge Flash browsing history.
- Install Security Extensions
There are plugins that are suspicious, but there are plugins and extensions that are specifically designed to strengthen your browser’s security. Here are some of the recommended plugins to install:
- AdblockPlus to block pop-ups
- HTTPS Everywhere is the secure version of HTTP and encrypts data
- Disconnect Me blocks third party trackers and provides you the ability to control scripts.
- Web Of Trust color codes the URL of links giving the user clues as to how safe the sites they are about to go to.
- Keep Your Browser Updated
New threats and vulnerabilities are developed every day, and hackers and predators find out new ways to exploit your browser’s integrity. Keep your tools well sharpened by frequently updating them to ensure that your system is properly guarded, and vulnerabilities are plugged. Make sure to check out your browser’s website for updates, patches, and upgrades and keep your system well in check.
- Use a good Anti-Virus.
Using AV gives you another layer of protection what will alert you when you are about to install potentially unwanted programs that might infect or harm your computer. It is very common that people think that the system only gets infected when suspicious software is downloaded or installed. Unknown to most, the dangers are not just from installing or downloading software and apps, but intrusion can also be done with just a simple click on a website. Visiting sites, even trusted ones that are secretly compromised, could infect your system. Being cautious now is no longer enough and the added layer of protection an AV provides may not be perfect, but it will surely catch those that slip through the cracks.
- Use a dedicated anti-malware. There are some good anti-malware tools which specifically target attempts via the browser. These browser-based attacks may not be detected by anti-virus programs because these do not write to the system area. Instead what is being sent is a small script which does things in the background. Some of these things include using your computer to run a dedicated-denial-of-service (DDOS) attack. What happens is that your computer creates a bot, which it sends to a specific address at a given time. That address will have a lot of other bots sending it requests, and it could not function properly due to an overload of requests. In some cases, it might shut down the server until some counter-measures are implemented. When this happens, due to a large number of bots involved, all from infected machines, large parts of the network might also go down.
- Be wary of phishing.
Phishing is when you receive an email which promises you money or some other reward. This entices you to click reply back and start communicating with the sender. At the beginning, this might sound as if it is nothing, but soon it will escalate to where you are asked to deposit or use money transfer to pay for a certain amount under a transaction fee. This is one of the ways where scammers can get people to send them large amounts of money. Always be sure that you are shopping on the correct website. Also, always be sure that you are sending money to legitimate businesses.
It is no longer enough just to surf safe and stay out of places that look shady, and suspicious activities now have been successfully masquerading like safe websites or software. Be diligent and keep a close eye on what you click and where you click, they may be opening doors for intruders to infect your computer.