Safe Browsing – Avoid Scams, Malware and Viruses
Whatever your field of work or topic of interest, spending time online and using the web to research and browse is now a part of everyday life and work. Unfortunately, most people still aren’t in the habit of making sure they’re browsing and file-sharing online is a safe experience. Safe browsing, salvaging your computer from damaging viruses, and avoiding ransomware is all about safe habits.
Here are a few tips and browsing practices to protect yourself and your business from theft, and ultimately, headaches due to data loss.
Avoid questionable websites
When you browse the internet, you are prone to come across some questionable websites. They can have hidden dangers and can cause your computer to malfunction, sometimes severely. These risks include requests for your personal information, infection by malware, computer viruses, spyware, and other malicious content. Questionable websites can often be adult entertainment websites, file sharing sites, and links posted by users on various social networks. If you see a window or page that prompts you to click a link to run software, be cautious! Harmful websites can create such prompts that look like messages from your browser in order to get your personal information or access to your files and data. Skip this website altogether.
Think before you click
Avoid clicking on links in your email, IMs or social networks that are from people that you either don’t know or messages that don’t appear to be written in the tone and manner you’re used to from people you do know. Cyber hackers are known to infiltrate your friends’ emails and networks, posting messages claiming to be in trouble and asking for money or asking you to click on unfamiliar links. Be vigilant and cautious! Avoid pop-ups and weird links, clicking on graphics, since they can start causing your computer to slow down or delete files. Be sure to download files only from websites that you trust. When shopping online, use websites of know retailers and only use secure web pages that you can identify clearly from the URL in the browser address bar.
Install anti-virus and malware software
You might need a little added effort, time, and tools to stay safe, but they’re all worth it. Installing virus protection and keeping your computer operating system updated are two security essentials every user should adhere to. This should go without saying. Still, many people, especially those using computers at home, don’t have any form of virus protection, believing they’re perfectly safe. No device connected to the internet is every perfectly safe. Regular maintenance of your computer and connected devices is also important. If you are using other devices, such as tablets, mobile phones, make sure you have the latest version of security software, so that you’re protected. There is an endless slew of free or low-cost software available these days. Be sure to invest in a decent protection program, to keep your business and files safe. Get free antivirus here.
Check your browser security settings
Take a few minutes to set basic security configurations on your computer, to take care of your privacy. Turn on your firewall and turn off file and folder sharing for starters. To do this, go into your Control Panel options. To disable sharing (for Windows 8) go to Control Panel > Network and Internet > View network status and Tasks > Change advanced sharing settings > Turn off file and printer sharing > Save changes. And you’re one big step closer to being safe and snug while surfing the web.
Consuming online media
When streaming media, you are also at risk of malware downloading harmful media players that can be harmful and all in the background, without your knowledge. Be careful which websites you visit, and if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is. Skip that website too. Try to stick to consuming media on trusted websites that you know and love.
Update your operating system regularly
Whichever system you are using, Windows, Mac OS, Linux, etc, developers are always issuing new versions to keep your system safe. You can easily do this and though it sounds boring and time consuming, it is a good way to avoid headaches in the future.
Use strong passwords
Change your passwords regularly, especially those you use to access your online banking and other financial information. Typically, we use the same email address for all our accounts. Those are easier to steal and once your password is cracked. it takes seconds to hack into all accounts you’ve used that email to access. Use a personal, hard-to-guess password using letters, numbers, and symbols. Don’t use birth dates, names, addresses or pet names. Make it easy for you to remember and impossible for others to guess.