Are you secure as you surf the Internet? We know you’re focused on security as you check your email – we’ve talked about the dangers of spam and phishing scams – but your web browser can be an access point for hackers, too.
Vulnerabilities in the browser itself, add ons and extensions, or plugins like Java or Flash can allow someone to access your machine. Browsers talk to websites all the time, passing information back and forth. If a website has malicious code, holes in your browser can allow someone to run unintended process (think malware and viruses) on your machine. And then, you know what happens:
- Pop up ads
- Collection of personal information
- Identity theft
- Keylogging and tracking
- Installation of malware, viruses, Trojan horses, etc.
And the worst part is, you may not know your machine has been compromised.
So, how can you protect yourself? We love ZoneAlarm’s five tips:
Updates: Keep your browser updated. Like all software, holes and vulnerabilities are regularly discovered by programmers and fixed.
Check your settings: Take a moment to review your browser’s security settings and make sure they’re what you want. For example, are you OK with third-party cookies that may let advertisers track your activities online? For specifics on the browser you use, check out the Department of Homeland Security’s paper “Securing Your Web Browser.”
Get alerts: Be the first to know when there’s a vulnerability. Google Alerts is a free service that sends you email alerts based on keywords you chose. If Chrome is your browser of choice, set up an alert for “chrome security.” You’ll get an email when web content matching those keywords appears.
Be careful with plugins: Know what you’re installing in your browser when you choose plugins, extensions, or add ons.
Security plugins: You can install add ons to some browsers that can help keep you secure and alert you when a website is questionable. ZoneAlarm recommends HTTPS Everywhere, which encrypts communications; Web of Trust, which helps determine if a site is safe; and LongURL.org, which translates those short URLs that are so common on social media.
And, we have one more tip to add:
Be skeptical: Like email, if a claim or advertisement seems questionable or is too good to be true, don’t click on it!
Is your browser secure? PNSolutions can help you make sure you’re safe while you browse. Contact us today!