Browsing the internet has become a daily activity, however we must educate ourselves on the dangers of the internet. Follow the guidelines below to enjoy a safer browsing experience.
1. Update to the newest version of your browser
Internet browsers are software that allow you to surf the internet. There are currently a lot more browsers available than in the past. Many of these browsers are available to download for free. Whichever browser you choose make sure that you update it as soon as possible. Browser updates not only provide new functionalities, but they also provide critical patches for vulnerabilities in the older version and sometimes more safety features.
2. Disable Java in your browser
Java is a programming language used in a wide variety of applications; this is why it is very commonly misused by Cyber Criminals. This is why it is good practice to disable Java in your web browsers. Disabling Java in some Web browsers can be easy; in others however it may prove to be a little too difficult. If disabling the java is too complicated in your browser you may consider stepping over to a different browser. Click on the name of your browser below to see how to disable Java.
- Microsoft Internet Explorer 9
- Google Chrome: 1. Go to chrome://plugins/ 2. Click the Disable next to Java
- Mozilla Firefox
- Opera : 1. Go to tools/advance/plug-ins 2. Disable the Java plug-ins If a website you often visit uses java for critical functions you can enable java just for the period you are using it.
3. Avoid clicking on links in e-mails or pop-up messages
If you get an e-mail that looks legitimate offering you a link to a website you often visit, instead of clicking on the link type the address of the commonly used website directly in your web browsers address bar. WARNING: DO NOT USE THE ADDRESS PROVIDED IN THE E-MAIL. This method is commonly used for criminals to get you to a malicious website that can infect your computer or a fake website to steal your information. If you are browsing the internet and you encounter pop-up message that tells you that “A virus has been detected on your computer” and to “Download our Anti-Virus to remove this threat”…Whatever you do, DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK!. This is a trick often used by cybercriminals to get you to download their malicious software.
4. Use an anti-virus product that has an internet security suite
Many modern anti-virus products include an internet module. This module can offer a variety of services such as parental controls and also check if a website you are about to visit has malicious content.
5. Activate Parental Controls
Most modern routers allow you to configure parental controls. This means you can restrict the websites your kids can visit. These restrictions can be implemented based on themes, such as adult content, gambling etc. But there is also the possibility to block websites based on their address. Consult the manual of your router to make sure if it has built in parental controls, if not consider buying a router that offers built-in parental controls. There is also the possibility of purchasing Parental Control software, this software often offer more restriction possibilities such as restricting the amount of time your child can spend on the internet and also the times of the day your child can access the internet. There are browsers that have been specifically designed for children; these browsers allow only child-safe content to be loaded.
Social Networking has become an important part of our lives, it allows for us to contact friends and family, broadcast to them how we are faring in life by posting pictures, video’s, sometimes just what is on our mind and also for conducting business. It allows us to be more connected to our friends, families and clients than we ever imagined (or hoped for…). Social Networking however just like everything has to be done responsibly. By this we mean in a way that does not endanger you or your loved ones in any way and respects privacy.
1. Create strong passwords and change them regularly
The first step that you can follow to make your social networking experience safer is to ensure that you have a strong password. In our PC Protection section we offered a method used to create a strong, yet easy to remember password. You can test the strength of your password here . It is advisable to change your passwords every 3 months.
2. Be careful when clicking on links in messages or posts on Social Network sites
Cyber criminals can be very crafty; they make a living through deception. One method that is commonly used is to send messages or posts with contaminated links (these links take you to websites where you can get infected by all sorts of malware) using hacked accounts. Because the message or post seem to be from your friend or family member, you are more likely to click on it. That way you become a victim and they can use your account to target all of your contacts. Also, if the link you’ve clicked on took you to a malicious site (a website that infects you with malware) your computer may become infected with any type of malicious software, from those who spy on you in order to steal valuable information (such as usernames and passwords, credit card numbers, data and so on) or they could turn your computer into a Bot and use it as part of a botnet for distributing SPAM and participate in DDOS attacks.
3. Be aware that information posted on the internet, will remain on the internet and is considered public property
Nowadays it is very easy to instantly share pictures, videos and messages on the internet. It barely gives you enough time to think about the impact or the consequences it may have. It has become common practice for Human Resources to look at the social networking pages of prospective employees. A post or pictures depicting irresponsible behavior may cost you your dream job (for an interesting read visit www.weknowhatyouaredoing.com). Not to mention that anyone with access to those pictures are able to save them for later use (whatever this may be). Also be careful of what you are posting about yourself. Criminals can use this information to guess things such as passwords, secret questions or use this information for social engineering purposes. For example your first school or the name of your dog. Also be aware of posting information that can determine your whereabouts or when you are not home. These may be excellent information for someone out to hurt you or intrude on your property. Information posted on the internet by an individual is considered public property. There is no reason to assume a right of privacy on information posted on the internet. This means that anyone can do anything with this information and cannot be held liable.
4. Use the social networks security settings to ensure your information from prying eyes
Use the security settings provided by your social networking site to limit the number of people who can view your information. If you do not know how to do this, visit the social networking site’s help page or Google it. More people may have access to your information than you might think.
5. Monitor your young children if they use social networks
It is very important as a responsible parent to know what your child is being exposed to while he is social networking. All of the reasons mentioned above are cause for concern, yet children are also at risk of being contacted by sexual predators. Create and maintain strict rules about the use of social networking, restrict the amount of time children spend on these sites and make sure they never agree to meet strangers in person. Talk to your children about their online experiences and also about cyber bullying and the negative effects irresponsible behavior can have for them and their friends. Click here to download a free e-book that can teach children about online behavior.