Some of the most common security issues we see are a function of internet browsers, hijackers, pop-ups, and exploits. The average user spends most of their time on the computer in their internet browser and it represents the primary interface point with the outside world. Here are some ways to keep your internet browser clean and functioning.
Stay Up To Date
Keep your browser up-to-date with the latest security patches and updates. You can check for updates in most browsers from the settings menu.
Use A Trusted Browser
Use a reputable and secure browser such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Apple Safari. Many junkware programs come packaged with bogus browsers, such as the “Wave” browser, designed to serve ads and divert users into scams.
Install An Ad-Blocker
Install an ad-blocker to prevent pop-ups and other unwanted ads from appearing. Phony tech support scans are often initiated by showing the user obtrusive, pop-up ads which are difficult to get rid of and claim to be from a legitimate software company—an ad-blocker can stop the majority of those popups. The two most reliable ad-blockers are AdBlock Plus and uBlock Origin. Both are free and can be installed in minutes.
Be Wary Of Suspicious Links
Don’t click on suspicious links, especially in emails or on unfamiliar websites. If an acquaintance sends you a strange link in an out of character message or email it could be an indication that their account has been hacked and is being used to spread malware. The best thing to do in that situation is to pick up the phone and call the person.
Some Help With Security
Use a reliable antivirus program to protect your computer from viruses and malware and make sure the software updated and running. Computers running Windows have a free antivirus program built in to the operating system, Windows Defender, but if you are someone who is prone to getting virus, consider a premium option like Webroot of Vipre Antivirus.
Download With Care
Download software and files only from trusted and verified sources. Carefully examine check boxes when installing new software and utilities to prevent adware or unwanted programs from installing.
Use strong and unique passwords for all your online accounts and change them regularly. You might consider a password manager to help you maintain strong and varied credentials. Users should also enable two-factor authentication wherever possible to add an extra layer of security to your online accounts.
Know Your Notifications
It’s become common for websites to ask permission to push notifications and pop-up messages that appear even when you are away from that site. For some sites (like email, or your favorite new source) this can be useful, but unscrupulous websites use notifications to push spam and bogus error messages designed to initiate scams. Be careful of which notifications you allow and review your notification permissions in your browser settings.
If you have questions about your web browser, security or anything else related to your computer, give us a call at Mankato Computer Technology—your trusted, local, reliable, technology expert.