Useful Tips on Increasing Your Browser Security

Useful Tips on Increasing Your Browser Security

Dennis Snider

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For those of us who haven’t bothered configuring our browser privacy, there are probably a number of weaknesses in our privacy settings. Cookies, pop-ups, location tracking… there are many ways your privacy can be breached. Below we list some of the ways you can bolster your browser security.

Firstly, select a secure web browser. You don’t have to stick with standard offerings, but remember no browser is 100% secure. However, you can adjust the settings and use a VPN to improve security.

Look in your browser’s privacy settings; the default settings in many instances can leave you vulnerable. You should: disallow any redirections or pop-ups to minimize malware infiltration; stop automatic downloads, ask to be prompted every time; not allow third-party access to cookies and delete them after each session; ask for permission before allowing anything to access your microphone, camera or location information; deactivate Flash, JavaScript and ActiveX – they are all outdated and can compromise security; and activate “do not track” requests, although this doesn’t guarantee that websites will leave you alone.

It’s very important that you keep your browser up to date so that it can deal with all the latest threats. All the major browsers have automatic update options; make sure these are enabled.

Use the private/incognito mode to browse privately. In this mode, tracking all of your activities and IP address is still possible, but once you close the browser down all information about your session is deleted, so others can’t see where you’ve been or what you’ve done.

The majority of browsers offer extra security extensions that can boost your privacy and security. Always make sure that you are installing officially approved extensions, and have automatic updates enabled so that you don’t fall behind the curve on combating the latest threats.

The best way of keeping yourself completely private when browsing, so that nobody (e.g. institution, employer, ISP) can track what you do online, is to use a VPN. VPNs mask your location and IP address by providing a fictitious one. They also place your data in capsules, so it can’t be accessed as it passes through unsecured networks, and they scramble your data, making it almost impossible for hackers to decode it. This is particularly useful if you use public Wi-Fi networks.

Finally, your best protection is to use your common sense. Never accept downloads from sites you can’t be 100% sure you trust, don’t click on shortened links, such as bit.ly, and stay clear of non-HTTPS sites.

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