Today’s web browsing experience is much different than it was years ago.  Although our web browsing experience today is sleeker and offers a more modern feel the open web is still one of the most common places where computers get infected or users get scammed.

Browsing the web doesn’t have to be dangerous though, and by following some simple protocols, you and your office can experience a safe browsing experience.

Mitigating Online Threats with Smarter Browsing

By following a few simple rules, you can browse the web without the worry of potentially compromising your computer’s safety or your privacy.

1. Keep Your Web Browser Up-to-Date – Your web browser is your gateway to the web. Just like any other piece of software you use on your computer, the browser can have potential security vulnerabilities, and if not kept up-to-date, this can lead to information leaking or infection.  It’s easy enough to update most web browsers.  Typically, browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox will warn you when they are out-of-date and prompt you to update them automatically.

It’s also wise to only use well-known web browsing software.  The most well-known web browsers out today include Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Apple’s own Safari.  These web browsers handle security in their own ways but are, by far, the most well-known today.

2. Ensure Your Plug-Ins & Extensions are Up-to-Date – One of the most common ways your computer can get infected with malware is through a compromised plug-in. Browser plug-ins enrich our web browsing experience, but they can also easily be hacked and lead to a frustrating web browsing experience instead.

Some popular plug-ins that can help ensure that your browsing safe websites and keeping your information private include:

Ghostery – This plug-in is a free privacy and security-related browser extension.  This extension works by helping to identify trackers on the websites you visit as well as allowing you to block them.  Ghostery is a great privacy tool that can help you to keep your information private.

Web of Trust – Web of Trust (WoT) is an online reputation and internet safety service which report of trust about existing web sites.  The WoT plug-in is a great way to ensure the websites you are visiting are not compromised or contain any potential threats that could harm your computer.

Add-Blocking Plug-Ins – One of the most common ways that our computers are infected is through compromised advertisements.  There are several popular ad-blocking plug-ins such as UBlock Origin, and Ad-Block Plus.  These plug-ins block pop-up ads and other ads typically on the sides or top and bottom portion of the websites you visit.  It offers a cleaner and safer web browsing experience.

It should be noted, though, that many websites may require you to turn off your ad-blocker in order to proceed to the site.  This can be done easily, however, with most ad-blocking plug-ins.

3. Use Bookmarks for the Websites you Visit Most – Using bookmarks to access the webpages you visit most is not only a convenient way to get to your most used sites quickly but is actually safer as well. Manually typing in a website’s URL can be susceptible to typos, which may lead you to a page that could be potentially harmful.

For example, if you get an email requesting that you log into a website you may frequent (Amazon, Yahoo, PayPal, etc.), you should never click the link provided in the email.  It’s possible that this is a phishing email attempt, and the website in the provided URL could be one that looks exactly like the page you would normally visit, but, in actuality, is another website entirely set up to steal your information.

Instead, you should use your own bookmark to visit the website and verify the information being relayed to you.  You can reveal the true location that a link is sending you to by simply hovering over the link with your mouse cursor, and, after waiting a moment, the destination of the link will be revealed.  You can also check the headers of the email sent to you to ensure that the sender is truly who they say they are.

By following these simple tips, you and your team can enjoy a rich, and safe browsing experience.  If you’re interested in learning more about internet security and how you can stop online threats from causing data loss at your office, give us a call today!