You use the Internet every day without even thinking about it – for fun and for work. But are you practicing safe Internet use while you browse?
Following these seven safe browsing tips can help you avoid malware, spyware, viruses, and scams.
Avoid questionable websites
You can find spyware and other types of malware all over online, but certain types of websites are more prone to problems. If you can’t avoid these kinds of sites, be skeptical as you read and browse them.
- Adult websites
- File-sharing and download websites
- Social networking
- Links in questionable emails (don’t click them!)
Make sure websites are secure
Before logging in or entering personal information, make sure the website you’re using is secure. How do you know a website is secure? Look for a locked padlock next to the URL and an “s” at the beginning of the website address.
Look in the address bar of your browser – not in the content of the website for the padlock. A padlock on a website itself means nothing.
Type Website Addresses, Don’t Click
Professional spammers and phishers are experts at making their emails and websites look legitimate. Get into the habit of manually typing website addresses into your browser rather than clicking on them in emails and instant messages. Not every email you receive is questionable, but a little skepticism goes a long way. It only takes one click in the wrong place to get into trouble.
Double check the URL once you’ve gotten to the website. A small typo can send you to a website that looks like the one you intended to visit – but isn’t. And, as you mouse over links on the website, make sure the address of those links matches the address of the page. You’ll see this in the bottom bar of your web browser.
Stay Up to Date
Keep your web browser and operating system up to date. Security patches close holes that scammers and hackers will exploit.
Use Multiple Layers of Protection
Browsing safely is one way to protect yourself online, but you need some things running in the background to help. Antivirus software, firewalls, spam filtering, and website filtering can also help to keep you safe.
As we noted above, file-sharing and download sites can be one of the best sources for viruses and other malware. Download only from sites you know and trust – always looking for the locked padlock and “s” in the http.
When you’re on your mobile device, download apps from the major app retailers. Read reviews before downloading; users will report when there are problems or security issues with an app.
Be Safe On the Go, Too
Don’t forget these safety tips when you’re using your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Mobile devices can get viruses and be hacked, too!
Learn more about safe Internet use from these past Tech Talk Posts:
- Staying Secure on Public Wifi
- Traveling this Summer? How to Stay Secure When You’re Mobile
- 6 Tips for Safe Social Media Use
- Teaching Your Kids Online Security and Safety
- What is SPAM? (And how can you avoid it?)
- Protect Yourself from Phishing Scams
- Tips for Creating Strong Passwords