Most of us stay connected to the internet for at least half of our days, and it’s not a rarity to come across malicious software, viruses, and data privacy concerns. Other than that, you unknowingly get exposed to intrusive ads, website incompatibility, data errors, disruptive pop-ups, and other cybersecurity risks.
It’s important to be responsible and protect your data when exploring the web. There are several ways to make your experience satisfying and safer. You need to develop safe browsing habits as well to improve the level of security for all your online activities.
Let’s take a look at some of the best practices for safely browsing the internet and strengthening your online security.
Block Those Pop-Ups
Pop-ups in web browsers are super annoying. They usually open up a new window for push ads, and while some can simply be a nuisance, others can contain inappropriate or malicious links/content. Luckily, you can easily switch them off from the settings in most browsers or just allow them for your If you still receive pop-ups after blocking them from the browser setting, you’ve either subscribed accidentally to receive notifications from a website or some malware made its way to your PC. You never trusted sites.
know who can see your browsing and other personal data through such infected connections. Simply put, blocking pop-ups will serve you somewhat like an antivirus, just at a lower cost.
Keep Your Plugins and Browser Updated
No matter the kind of device you’re using, browsers often create the first point of contact between you and the internet. Hackers can pick on vulnerabilities in web browsers from outdated ones. This is why developers regularly release updates to make sure you experience the latest features and enhanced security.
Most browsers automatically update and patch any such vulnerabilities. You don’t have to check them manually; the browser or the operating system update tools will do it for you. An updated browser is more efficient at blocking unwanted popups and tackling threats. It’s advised to never turn automatic updates off as ignoring them can put you at the risk of cyber infection.
Clear Cache and Cookies
Cookies and caches are files that are stored on your device to save your browsing data. This commonly includes saving login details or dark mode settings, etc. These caches help in opening up websites quicker on your recurring visits by remembering the elements of that particular website. Sometimes, websites can track your browsing data, and to limit that exposure, you need to clear your browser cache and cookies. Deleting them may also become necessary to get access to the latest version of the website.
Almost all major web browsers allow manual cache deletion, some might also offer to clear them automatically. You can easily clear all the cache data from the settings or go for software options to automate the process.
Use a VPN
VPN or Virtual Private Network will hide your IP address and encrypt your browsing data so that internet service providers and browsers cannot track and trace your IP address or activity. Having an active VPN will maintain your privacy by encrypting all your internet requests and data before they reach the internet. This encrypted data goes to the VPN server to decrypt the request and is sent back. This prevents advertisers, sites, and internet service providers from tracking what you’re browsing.
Use Ad Blockers
Ads are following us around everywhere, be it a billboard or a clothing store’s website. Ad blockers are tools that integrate with the browser to filter out and block advertisements. They will remove pop-up ads, redirecting pages, and malicious noise from the screen. However, some websites are ad-driven which means they generate revenue from ads. A few of such sites like Wired or CNET do not allow ad-block users, in such cases, you can simply add them to the whitelist to access them.
Keep the Firewall and Antivirus Up-To-Date
Antivirus and firewall protection software is a must! No matter how careful or smart you are about links, files, and sites you go to, you need them. You could be exposed to a threat even on the most reputable websites. Antivirus software should regularly be updated to make web browsing safer. This software will prompt you when you come across a potentially dangerous website.
The most reputable antivirus software solutions today are using AI and synthetic data to track and monitor all applications and prevent attacks before they happen. They run in the background and come at a small price.
Use a Password Manager
One of the easiest ways of getting to your data is through a password. When a website is hacked, millions of passwords get leaked, which makes it highly dangerous to keep the same password for different sites. To prevent this, you should choose different and unique passwords for every site. It should contain a combination of numbers, upper and lower case letters, and symbols.
Remembering these long, unpredictable, and complicated passwords is next to impossible. And saving them in your notes app isn’t a great option either. For that, password managers are created to encrypt and store all your login details securely for different websites. They help you to log in automatically and quickly. All you have to do is remember one master password.
Turn On Private Browsing
Often known as incognito mode, private browsing helps you in keeping your internet activity private from other users on a shared device. It can also block some sites from tracking your browsing data and searching trends/history. However, it doesn’t hide what you’re doing on the web from your internet service provider, but it can reduce cookie accumulation.
Once you exit a private browser, it won’t save any of your histories, or information you might’ve added to a website. Some browsers also have the option to hide your location in this mode.
Cyber threats, if not treated in time, can lead to seriously bad consequences. Hackers can lurk into your system and get to your sensitive data to misuse it. Learning the basics of web browsing etiquette and taking a few protective measures can help you stay safe.
Understanding what’s good and bad for you when browsing and keeping the factors mentioned above in check will let you enjoy your online world better. You can browse freely, safely, and completely worry less by taking your privacy and security into your own hands with these simple defense tactics.