The web is a portal to information – software, data, and all sorts of other things we need every day.  Be it researching some information for a presentation, looking up a recipe, or watching a video, the web gives us access to anything we might need.  It can also be a portal for viruses, malware, and adware finding its way onto your computer if used without safe browsing techniques in place as well.

Websites all over the web can be filled with malicious software that is only a click away from finding itself onto your computer, thereby spreading to other computers on your network. There are some easy methods you can follow so you can enjoy browsing the web safely, however, without having to worry about getting infected.

What Forms of Malicious Content Can Affect You Online?

There are several methods that hackers employ to spread malicious software onto your computer from certain websites.  The types of attacks they use range from trying to control your computer through Remote Access Tools (RATs), to hijacking your browser to serve you advertisements and pop-ups when browsing the web.  Here are a few types of online browser malware that could affect your computer.

Search Engine HiJacker – Search Engines, like Google, are some of the most visited sites on the web.  We use them to easily find websites that contain information we’re looking for.  When infected with a search engine hijacker, you will be automatically navigated to a different search engine when you try to go to one such as Google.  The purpose of this is to send you to other infected websites or feed you ads when you try to search the web.

Infected Website Ads – Advertisements are a fact of life when browsing the web.  Websites use banner ads, sidebar ads, and other forms of advertisements to help pay for the cost of the site and try to make some money on the site as well.  Advertisements themselves, however, can often be infected, and clicking on one can lead to malware finding its way on your computer.  It’s advised that you never click on a website ad, even from a reputable site, like Amazon or Yahoo, for example.  If a site is noticeably loaded with many advertisements as well, it’s best to navigate away.

Infected Websites – Websites themselves can also become defunct and infected with malware that can spread to your computer if visited.  Some websites that request information can use that data to steal personal information, passwords, and other details that could lead to financial loss or access to your computer or email.  If a website has broken links, pages that are not working, or navigates you to a different URL altogether from what you were looking for, then you should stop and close that site.

Preventing Infections and Browsing Safely

Browsing the web doesn’t have to lead to infections and endless advertisements.  With a few simple techniques, you can browse the web confidently without worrying about getting infected.

Using a simple pop-up blocker, like Ad Blocker Pro or UBlock Origin, both of which are free and easily found on most internet browser stores, can help block ads from even displaying.  This gives you a much cleaner browsing experience and prevents many ads that may be infected from ever being seen while you’re browsing the web.  Using an anti-virus program on your computer can also help identify if you may have downloaded something from the web that is infected and remove it for you before it can cause significant problems.

If you’re a business owner, you can’t keep an eye on everything your staff browses when they are on their computers.  A managed IT services partner, like Natural Networks, however, can help you prevent team members from going to sites that may be infected or non-productive.  A managed IT services provider can also help track a computer that may have been infected and clean it before it is able to spread to other devices on your network.

The internet has been a tool which has changed the landscape of how we gather information, and use our computers every day.  Using the web safely doesn’t have to be difficult or dangerous.  If you want to learn more about how Natural Networks can help you navigate the web safely, give us a call today!