Any browser has weaknesses. It is virtually impossible to fully protect your machine from any cyber threats out there. The only suggestion that experts have is to stay aware of possible phishing and hacking attacks and avoid visiting unreliable websites that may carry a virus or malware. There are also many inconveniences that may threaten your safety online. Let’s talk about how you can make your browser a little bit more protected from all of the issues that you encounter when surfing the web.
What is a browser?
Surprisingly, this is a question that many users of the internet have. The answer is simple: the program in which you are currently viewing this article is what we call a browser. There are several prominent web browsers out there. Chances are you are using one of them. Google’s Chrome, Microsoft’s Edge, Apple’s Safari, and Mozilla’s Firefox are the four most popular browsers as of right now.
Messing with security settings
The configuration of security settings is what usually determines how secure your machine and personal information is. Sadly, the vast majority of browsers focus less on protecting sensitive data but instead on giving third-parties access to your location, habits, and other private information that you may be interested in keeping less exposed. Regardless of which browser you are using, you should most certainly do the following:
– Turn off pop-ups and redirects that are allowed by default.
– Prevent any automatically initiated downloads.
– Do not allow websites to use your local hardware like microphones, cameras, and other devices.
– Turn off the ActiveX feature used mostly by Edge. It is an outdated piece of software.
– Always force the browser to send out “Do Not Track” requests that prevent websites from obtaining personal information about you.
All these options can be found in the section of settings that are responsible for privacy and security. In all browsers, open preferences and look for options related to privacy. There, you will find all the necessary settings that must be tweaked.
Do not lag behind on updates
Your browser can be vulnerable due to the lack of updates. All modern browsers are updated regularly to ensure that new exploits and issues cannot affect them. Internet Explorer and Edge are updated automatically with Windows. However, you may need to manually update Chrome and Firefox. Both browsers will highlight the “settings” button when an update is available.
Use Private Browsing function
The simplest way to avoid a lot of threats that you may encounter is to use the private browsing mode that can be activated in most browsers. It is either called “private” or “incognito”. When in this state, the browser will not share your information, location or any other data. At the same time, some content will be blocked by default to prevent accidental infection.
Your ISP may still know which websites you use. In order to protect yourself from such problems, you should use a VPN.
Additional tools that help
There are many interesting extensions that make your browser slightly more resilient towards various cyber threats. If you want to feel a little bit safer when browsing your favorite websites, be sure to install apps like:
– HTTPS Everywhere is an extension released for all major third-party browsers and helps with identifying websites that may not encrypt your data leaving sensitive information exposed.
– AdBlock is an app that many active internet users install to block annoying content.
– Privacy Badger is an anti-tracker that will ensure that you are not being spied on by websites that you are exploring.
– Blur is a multifunctional tool designed to protect your personal information and privacy when you are surfing the web.
What about a VPN?
A VPN is a middleman between you and the net meaning that your data will be well protected from websites that may have malicious intents. The vast majority of VPN providers offer zero-logs policy meaning that they do not track your online behavior and won’t share your data with any third party. The traffic received and sent through a VPN is encrypted and websites don’t know who you are and where you from.