Safe Browsing Practices – 2020 Guide

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Security softwares can fail therefore your best line of defense against cyber attacks is safe browsing. In this post, I will explain how to develop a safe browsing habit
safe browsing habits

Most times, the possibility of any cyber attack to work successfully requires the end user (you) to perform a certain action, which may be clicking on a link, file download, app installation or system update. Safe browsing practices will help you quickly identify postential threats

The attacker will use tricks (social engineering) to get you to perform these actions without you knowing the implication of what you are doing.

However, cultivating a safe browsing habit will save you from social engineering attacks. A safe browsing habit is your best line of defense against known and unknown threats.

How do I make my browsing secured?

Before I go on to explain safe browsing habits, I would like to remind you the dictionary meaning of the word, ‘habit’.

“an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary: the habit of looking both ways before crossing the street.”- Dictionary.com

Developing a safe browsing habit requires some little programming of your mind. You have to constantly repeat the action until it becomes  a habit.

The following are recommended to enjoy safe browsing on the internet:

  1.  Avoid blind CLICKING: Malware can come in form of links. Be sure to inspect ANY link before you click on it. If you are not sure about the link, don’t click on it. A single click on a malicious link can get your computer infected. Avoid clicking on links in emails you receive. But if you must click on the link, we recommend you scan the link at VirusTotal. If the link is malicious, VirusTotal will inform you
  2. Never open or download any email attachment from unknown senders: Attackers can embed malware in Images, Word Documents and PDFs. Immediate you open the infected file, the malware will be executed in the background while you think everything is fine with the file. Even if the attachment is from a known or trusted sender, be careful with email attachments. Hackers can hijack emails and spam the contacts of the hijacked email, so it is safer to take the next action
  3. Scan with your Antivirus: If download any file or software from the internet, scan it immediately with your AV. if any threat is detected, pause right there and delete the file from your computer.
  4. Avoid entering your personal information on unencrypted websites: Always inspect the URL of the website you are visiting and make sure it is running on Https://. Avoid entering sensitive information like email, passwords, SSN, Credit Card on Http:// websites since your data is transferred in plaintext, a hacker can intercept, read and steal your information. So to be safe, avoid unencrypted websites.
  5. Avoid free stuffs: avoid free apps and downloads from unknown sources as they are just a bait to get into your computer and track your activities. Most of the free stuffs out there are really too expensive to your privacy
  6. Detect Phishing:  Phishing is a social engineering attack that is very effective in stealing your credentials. The way it works is that the attacker will impersonate a website you use or someone you know and trick you to enter your sensitive information or perform some actions. To detect a phishing attack always inspect the email or URL you receive. 
  7. Avoid entering your passwords manually: Some malware can steal all the key strokes you enter on your keyboard and send a report remotely to the attacker. Such malware are known as Keyloggers. Keyloggers are used to steal your credentials. With a Password Manager you can automatically enter your passwords in any site you have saved.

Also, a keylogger will not be able to steal your credentials. Using an up-to-date antivirus software along side a password manger will create a solid security layer to your internet connection.

Read also: Best antivirus program to secure your device

Configure your Browser for Privacy

Some browsers come with default settings which do not have your privacy in mind. Many websites store cookies and trackers on your browsing to track your behaviour and sell your data.

This can be avoided by configuring your browser for privacy. We will start by installing some browser extensions that will keep your data private.

Some of the browser extensions include:

  • Privacy Badger: This browser extension keeps an eye on the cookies and trackers in any website you visit. It also allows you to block any cookie that is a threat to your privacy.
  • Ublock Origin: If you are tired of seeing annoying ads every time, installing Ublock Orign you can block ads in any website you visit.
  • HTTPS Everywhere: This extension configures your browser to use HTTPS protocol to communicate with any website you visit. This way you are sure your data is private.

Don’t forget to always clear your browsing history and cookies.

Conclusion

Cultivating the above browsing habits will keep you safe on the internet. Make sure your browser and computer are running the latest software version.

If you find this article helpful, please share with someone you think will benefit from this information.

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Saint Kali

Saint Kali

Cyber Security Researcher and Consultant.
He is the founder and CEO of Futtress