People’s dependency on the internet often makes us forget about the lack of security that our web browsers have. Your security can be compromised in numerous ways from tracking your location to hacking into your system and stealing your private data. Does this mean that you need to fearfully surf the web? Of course not. You simply need to make your browser more secure.
Taking precautionary measures will make things harder for anyone who tries to track your steps. Make the internet a more secure place so that you can surf the web without thinking about malicious software and other threats. Here are some simple steps that will help you increase web browser security.
1. Update Your Browser Regularly
Browsers are consistently running updates to improve their service and ensure better user satisfaction. One of the features they are working on is security. Keeping your browser up-to-date will help the browser protect you from recently identified threats.
To ensure that your browser is updated, you can go to the “About” page in your browser. Browsers mostly run the updates automatically but this option can allow you to do check-ups.
2. Review the Browser’s Privacy and Security Settings
Start from the very basic – configuring your browser’s privacy setting. Many people overlook this possibility. Most browsers have security default settings that expose the user’s data. However, they do leave you the option to change the settings to suit your privacy requirements.
You can read the Department of Homeland Security’s “Securing Your Web Browser” manual. There you can find outlined recommendations for each browser (Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.)
In any case, the least you can do in your privacy settings to secure your browsing is the following:
- Set the browser to ask permission before accessing your location, camera, and microphone
- Disable automatic downloads since they can contain malware
- Disable pop-ups
- Disable redirections
- Delete cookies after browsing
- Turn off third-party access to cookies
Get familiar with all the options within security settings. Take time to read through them and check and uncheck the boxes so that you create a safe environment for your web browsing activities.
If you don’t know where to find the security settings, here’s the information:
- Firefox privacy settings: Three vertical lines (in the top right corner of the browser) > Preferences > Privacy and security
- Chrome privacy settings: Three dots (in the top right corner of the browser) > Settings > Privacy and security
- Microsoft Edge: Three dots (in the top left corner of the browser) > Privacy and security
- Safari Privacy Settings: Safari > Preferences (in the top corner of the browser) > Privacy
3. Install Browser Security Extensions
For some additional security measures, you can install browser security extensions or plug-ins. They enhance your browser’s security and it only takes a few clicks to get them up and running.
What you need to be careful about is which extensions you install. You don’t want to fall into a trap of installing malicious software. The best security extensions for Chrome and other browsers are the ones that are endorsed by your browser. Also, make sure that you enable automatic updates for extensions.
For starters, you can check out the following recommended security extensions:
- AdBlock Plus (for Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Edge (beta), Opera, Maxthon, and Yandex)
- Click & Clean (for Chrome and Firefox)
- HTTPS Everywhere (for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera)
- Privacy Badger (for Firefox, Opera, and Android)
- Disconnect (for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera)
4. Sign Up for Alerts
Google Alerts is a handy software that sends you notification on any given keyword, topic, or issue. You can look at it as a know-it-all personal assistant. Set up Google Alerts to alert you if there are any security issues. In that way, you can act promptly to prevent the exploitation of your data.
“Most people would use Google Alerts to get updates on their business or content they are interested in. However, I use it to increase my browser’s security measures. If there are any security issues or if someone tries to use my data Google will let me know,” said Estelle.
5. Install Antivirus Program
Don’t let unwanted programs to take over your computer through your browser. Set up a security wall in the form of an antivirus program. Keep in mind that you need a reputable antivirus program if you want to be fully protected.
Without security software protecting your device, hackers can take down your system. You can potentially lose all the data you have on the device which would be devastating for anyone. That’s why an antivirus program is a must.
6. Turn on Private Browsing
While you surf the internet freely, your browser cache, web history, form data, and cookies are being stored. This means that anyone can retrace your steps and see what you were doing even when you quit the browser.
Protect your privacy by using the private browsing tab. The private browser in Chrome is called Incognito Mode. Firefox and Safari also have a private web browser available. When you use this browser, your browsing history will be completely erased and shielded from everyone. You can need to close it completely after you’re done.
7. Use a VPN (Virtual Proxy Network)
The best way to secure your web browser is definitely a VPN. Virtual Proxy Network uses the encryption protocols that ensure that you are the only one who can see your data. It encrypts your data before they ever get to the internet.
What VPN service does for you is that it hides your IP address and location, it packs your data and moves it within a private tunnel, and overall, makes it impossible to hack. Even if you are using a public Wi-Fi network, VPN will protect you.
Besides the above-mentioned tips, there is one last thing you should do – be careful about the pages you visit and emails you click on. Stay away from non-HTTP websites and be careful about downloading files that aren’t from reputable websites.
The internet is a tricky place so you need to be alert when you browse the web. Investing some time and effort into securing your browser may not be the most interesting process but it is necessary for carefree browsing.
The author, Marques Coleman, is a blog writer at BestEssayEducation.com and SupremeDissertations. He combines her passion for writing with her interest in research and creates thought-provoking content in various fields.