Ways to Make Your Web Browser More Secure
In all likelihood, you have heard the expressions “you can’t be too careful” and “better safe than sorry.” And while these were originally coined to refer to actions taken during life in general, they are especially true when it comes to your computers.
A breach in your computer’s security can lead to any number of troubles for you, ranging from a simple virus, up to having your personal information and even your identity stolen. 20,000 to 30,000 new malicious URLs appear on a daily basis, making the online world seem like a minefield on occasion.
While there are any number of programs designed to help keep you safe, it is important to also do everything you can to minimize the risks that you face. With that thought in mind, here are some steps to take to make your we browser more secure.
Avoid the Dark Alleys
There are places online that are definitely less safe than others, while some sites can be safely assumed to be secure. Seeking out illegal downloads, for example, carries greater risks than logging in to Netflix or your email. Consider the sites that you are frequenting and what activities you are conducting online. Chances are, you already know which ones might cause you trouble.
Browser-makers are constantly updating their product, and one of the main reasons for doing so is to correct any potential security flaws that could be exploited by cybercriminals. By keeping your browser updated, you are sure to be using the most secure version.
Keeping up-to-date also includes your plug-ins. Those that you need should update automatically by themselves, though there may be some that require you to update them manually. Ensure that automatic updates are active and updating regularly.
As for the plug-ins that you don’t need, uninstall them. Java in particular should be uninstalled unless you truly need it. A number of plug-ins are becoming less necessary, so you can probably be confident in uninstalling even the ones you are somewhat unsure of. The worst that will happen is you may need to reinstall something if you encounter the need, which may never happen.
Install Security Plug-Ins
On the topic of plug-ins, you should install ones that offer increased security beyond anything your browser’s privacy settings offer. Two that you may want to look at are Web of Trust and HTTPS Everywhere.
Web of Trust is a plug-in that helps you decide how trustworthy a site may be, by using a crowd-sourcing method of rating websites. The experiences of other users are used to reach a general consensus on how trustworthy a site is, with a red- yellow- green rating system.
HTTPS is another interesting plug-in. This one forces major websites to use the HTTPS protocol when dealing with your computer, rather than HTTP. This is safer for you, as HTTPS has greater encryption.
Enable Click-to-Play Plug-Ins
By enabling the click-to-play option on your browser, you will allow pages to load faster, and gain important security benefits. Attackers won’t be able to make use of weaknesses in your browser’s plug-ins running in the background, because they will only be running when you allow them to.
Use an Anti-Exploit Program
Rather than relying exclusively on antivirus software, you can use an anti-exploit program to help defend your computer against the most common types of attacks. Rather than using antivirus-type blacklists, these programs simply prevent certain types of behaviour from occurring in the first place.
Your main options for this type of program are EMET from Microsoft, and Malwarebytes Anti Exploit, which are both available for free. Of the two, Anti-Exploit is easier to set up.
Protecting your system is a valid concern and something that you should take seriously. With a little effort, you can take steps to be much more secure.