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8 Tips to Secure Your Web Browser

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Many individuals aren’t aware that their web browser can be compromised by cyber-criminals. A study by the Russian security company Kaspersky indicated that these types of attacks have risen dramatically. In the early months of 2016, attacks against browsers accounted for 48 percent of all exploit attacks. The reason behind the increase is the amount of personal information that can be harvested from the typical browser. Usernames, passwords, credit card numbers and banking details can easily be retrieved by online criminals with the intention of financial gain.There are many ways in which your browser can be exploited, but the good news is there are simple things you can do to protect yourself. Here are eight tips to ensure that your browser is secure and presents little opportunity for unauthorized access by online attackers.

1) Use caution and exercise common sense

Your web browser can be exploited in a number of ways. Sometimes attackers use holes in the software that vendors aren’t aware of, known as zero-day exploits. However, many intrusions are enabled by user behavior. Use caution when browsing the web and keep these basic safety points in mind:

  • Never click on a link or open an attachment if you don’t know who sent it.
  • Web links can be spoofed to lead you to malicious websites. Before you click on a link, scroll your mouse pointer over it; it will display the true destination. If it doesn’t match, don’t click it.Don’t download any software from unofficial sites – even legitimate software can contain nasty surprises such as malware once installed.
  • Don’t click on adverts; go to the company website instead.
  • Never enter your personal information through links provided in emails. Either go to the website or call a customer service representative to confirm that the request is genuine.

2) Enable automatic updates

It’s vital to ensure that your browsers and operating system are kept up to date. Software updates may contain vital patches to fix security problems within the OS or browser. If you aren’t running the latest versions there’s a good chance you’re leaving yourself exposed to an attack. It’s a good idea to enable automatic updates to ensure you’re always running the latest most, secure version.

3) Use a 64-bit browser

If you’re using a fairly new computer, it probably has a 64-bit operating system. This means you should be using a 64-bit browser. A 64-bit browser has many advantages over the older 32-bit browsers; they are faster, more stable and most importantly, more secure. A feature built in to newer browsers means it is much harder for cyber-criminals to take advantage of security problems.

4) Use caution with plug-ins

Plug-ins are pieces of software that allow your browser to perform additional functions. However, plug-ins also present a security threat. They are often insecure and can lead to all sorts of problems when attackers discover security holes that the vendor isn’t aware of. Java and Microsoft ActiveX are two well-known examples of dangerously insecure plug-ins and should be disabled on any PC that you use. Keep plug-ins to an absolute minimum and uninstall any that you don’t use. For extra security, you should also enable the “click-to-play plug-in” feature. This will ensure that you have to approve it cannot load in the background, minimizing the risk of attackers finding a way in. Additionally, enabling this feature will reduce your battery and data usage. Keep your plug-ins automatically updated for the most secure versions.

5) Use a reputable anti-exploit program

Using an anti-virus program alone isn’t enough to keep you secure from today’s online threats. To add an extra layer of security, you should also use a reputable anti-exploit program such as Malware Bytes Anti-Exploit. Anti-exploit programs recognize and block certain types of unusual behaviour associated with zero-day attacks, protecting software’s code. This is an ideal addition to a strong anti-virus program.

6) Keep browser extensions to a minimum

Extensions are fantastic for customizing your browsing experience. There are extensions available to integrate your browser with other applications, change the way websites are displayed and they can give you lots of useful features. However, they are also a major security risk. Malicious extensions can contain malware, spyware and other nasty items that can infect your PC with ease once they’re installed and as they use your browser to run, all your stored information is readily available. Select the extensions you use carefully and keep them to a minimum. Only install extensions from trusted developers and websites.

7) Delete all cookies

A cookie is a minuscule text file placed on your computer when you visit websites. They store information about your web browsing history and habits, and other information such as user names and passwords. There are two different types of cookies. First-party cookies are placed on your computer by websites that you have visited. Third-party cookies are placed by websites that you haven’t visited. These are used to track your behavior online and enable targeted advertising. Although it is convenient to have your user name and password pre-filled when you enter a website, it’s also a way for criminals to obtain the same information. For this reason, you should never allow your browser to store cookies. You can adjust the way your browser uses cookies by visiting the security section in your browser options.

8) Use a separate browser for financial activities

As an extra safety precaution, you should use one browser for general internet activities, and use a separate web browser for any financial activity, such as online banking, shopping, and any website where you need to enter sensitive information. This will keep your most private details separate, should one browser become compromised during general web surfing.

Browser attacks are on the increase, and there are a number of ways that cyber-criminals can gain access to the sensitive information that is stored in them. A strong anti-exploit program will provide extra protection alongside your anti-virus program. Deleting cookies and using separate browsers for general browsing and financial transactions are important. If the worst happens and a browser is compromised, the amount of sensitive data that the attackers can access is limited. By following these eight simple tips and exercising common sense when online, you can keep your browser as secure and protected as possible.

More About CP Cyber

CP Cyber is a full service cyber security consulting firm helping our clients uncover risks and build top of the line defenses to prevent cyber crimes.  To find out more about us visit our homepage here: https://cpcyber/ or follow our Colorado Cyber Security Google Page.

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