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.
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 defence against known and unknown threats.
How do I browse safely on the internet?
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 actions you will have to adopt as your browsing habits in order to enjoy safe browsing on the internet:
Be reluctant to CLICK on any link: Malware can come in form of link. Be sure to inspect any link you see before clicking 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. Just ignore
Never open or download any email attachment from unknown senders: Attackers can embed malware in Images, Word Documents and PDFs. Immediately 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
Scan with your Antivirus: Before you open any file you downloaded from the internet, scan it immediately with your AV. If any threat is detected, stop right there and delete the file from your computer.
Read also: Best Antivirus Softwares in 2020
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 protocol. Avoid entering sensitive information like passwords, SSN, Credit Card on HTTP websites since your data is stored unencrypted, a hacker can read and steal your data if he breaks into the website’s server. So to be safe, avoid unencrypted websites.
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 data privacy
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 visit 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 and scan the link on VirusTotal.
Use a Password Manager: 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 hacker. 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.
Read Also: What is a Password Manager
Using an up-to-date antivirus software along side a password manger will create a solid security layer to your internet connection.
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 Browser 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 Origin can block ads in any website you visit.
HTTPS Everywhere: This extension configures your browser to use HTTPS encryption 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.
Cultivating the above browsing habits will keep you safe on the internet. Make sure your Browser and Device are running the latest software version.
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