Browsing the Internet Safely

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0Browsing the internet safely; this is a topic that should be taken seriously. When having a conversation about using the internet in a secure manner there is an abundance of subtopics that have to be covered. For the sake of getting the most out of this article we will focus on one area…….securing your web browser. When you’re defending yourself from a potential hacker you should implement what is called a layered approach – security awareness, anti-virus, updates, and web browser security.

There is no secret that the internet is crawling with cyber criminals that would love nothing more than to hack into your computer. Today, web browsers such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari (to name a few), are installed on almost all computers. Because web browsers are used so frequently, it is vital to configure them securely. Not securing your web browser can lead quickly to a variety of computer problems caused by anything from spyware being installed without your knowledge to a hacker taking control of your computer.

Many companies use Pop-ups as an advertising method to grab your attention and redirect you from one website to their own. Some use these programs to distribute adware, spyware and more destructive types of malware. When you are not willing to give away your information, these individuals are willing to take it. Clicking on one of these dangerous Pop-ups could install a Trojan horse virus that unloads other malicious applications on your system or a keystroke logger with the ability to access any confidential data from tax information and passwords to your bank account.

It is refreshing to know that I can use Google or Yahoo to search for anything that I want to know about. However, what is not so comforting is the fact that the search results could render a malicious website that you click on.

Below are a few tips that you can implement to browse safely:

Internet Explorer Web Browser:

  1. Enable Pop-up blocker and set it to “High.”
  2. Change the Internet Zone Settings to “High.”

Mozilla Firefox Web Browser:

(Note: The following add-ons can be also be found in the Google Chrome web browser)

  1. Enable Pop-up blocker.
  2. Install the following add-ons:
    1. No Script – This add-on is similar to Internet Explorer’s “Pop-up blocker”, but it provides more security.
    2. Webutation – This add-on rates the reputation of the website that you click on from 0-100, which gives you a sense of trust when surfing.
    3. Web of Trust – I like this add-on because it is similar to Webutation, but you can see the rating of the website in your Google or Yahoo search results before click on the site.

Safari Web Browser:

  1. Enable Pop-up Blocker.
  2. Change the Accept Cookies configuration settings to “Only from sites you navigate to.”

For more advanced step-by-step settings I recommend going to http://www.cert.org/tech_tips/securing_browser/.

The internet can be a fun place to visit that can render all sorts of positive results ranging from social stimulation, business growth, and just pure entertainment. So don’t be afraid to surf the internet, but take the necessary measures to be safe.

By Ahmad Austin, CISSPCy3 Computing, LLCPrincipal Consultant,  Office: 334-649-3208  option 1 www.cy3computing.com

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