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How to keep a Secure Browser

For more tips on Cyber Security, head over to our article “Tips for Increase Cyber Security“.

Technology is becoming an essential part of people’s lives, helping facilitate their day-to-day activities. It has also become the arena for many malicious actors trying to inflict damage to their victims. This article will look at steps that an individual can take to change browser security setting and increase cyber-security.

We will also provide a basic cheat-sheet for non-tech savvy readers to increase their cyber security.

Browser Security Settings

Web browsers are commonly used around the world to gain access to a variety of websites and data across the internet. The access to internet data can lead to harmful unwarranted connections to electronics and/or privacy. Below is a list of settings and extensions that allows for a safer browsing.

Note: There are several browsers available for users to choose from, however, the most widely used browsers in the market are Mozilla Firefox (Open Source), Chrome (Google) or Internet explorer (Microsoft), therefore it is often preferable to use one of them as your primary browser.

Steps to Increased Browser Security & Privacy

  • Turn-off third-party cookies (Firefox, Chrome, IE) – This will decrease the amount of data gathered from you on behalf of third-parties tied to the frequented websites.
  • Browser Automatic Updates – Set your browser to automatically update as this will ensure that fixed bugs and vulnerabilities have been implemented in the browser. In Firefox, go to ‘Settings’>‘General’> tick the ‘Automatic install updates (recommended)’ button.
Keeping Firefox updated
  • Do not save Login & Password – Unless you are 100% certain that no one else will use the electronic and you are willing to take the risk of a cyberattack extracting that data, it is preferable to not save login & password on your browser. For Firefox users, go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Privacy & Security’ > Untick ‘Ask to save logins and passwords for websites’
  • File Download Request – Some websites may try to automatically download a file into an electronic. To limit that risk, a Firefox user can go to ‘Settings’ > ‘General’ > ‘Files and Applications’ and tick the ‘Always ask you where to save files’ box
  • Disable Javascript (Link) – Although Javascript is widely used in websites, it continues to be marred with a number of vulnerabilities that are exploited by hackers. To limit that risk, users are encouraged to disable Javascript as long as it does not impact day-to-day operations. Please note that by disabling Javascript, some sites may not work as intended, some prefer to whitelist sites they need from using Javascript while others take the risk and leave Javascript on.

Add-ons for Enhanced Security

Install Ublock extension to help block and filter ads. (Firefox, Chrome, IE). If there is a trusted site that requires ads that have been blocked, click the uBlock icon then press the power Icon once and it will turn gray.
Note: Some advance users believe that there may be a conflict of interest in a firm building both the search engine (ad revenue) and the web browser. An ad revenue driven firm such as Alphabet (Google) and Microsoft (Bing) may be strongly against solutions such as Ublock, therefore potential making it their interest to build a web browser that circumvents an ad blocker.

To ensure a secure, encrypted communication between you and major websites, use HTTPS Everywhere (link). If there is a need to turn off HTTPS Everywhere, click on its icon, then toggle off the “HTTPS Everywhere is on”

Tips for Daily Browsing

  • Use the Private Browsing mode (CTRL+SHIFT+P in Firefox) to automatically delete history & cookies from your browser after the browser is closed.
  • Make it a habit to use incognito mode when browsing the internet since it will automatically clear the browser history once you exit the application. Beware that this mode will not make you anonymous on websites that have captured your data, hence why you should follow the steps above.

Technology Cheat-Sheet

In General:

  • Reach out to a family member or trusted advisor if something looks off. Their feedback can help you make an informed decision.
  • Always double check the sources before providing personal or company information.
  • Do not visit, click, download or install anything from an untrusted sources.
  • Scammers will often create a sense of urgency to get you to act before thinking. Always remember that!
  • Do not provide personal/corporate/financial information when an entity requests it unless you are 110% certain of the validity of the request.
  • Be mindful that scammers will use legit entities to try to get to you.
  • [Stay Safe from Phishing & Scams] video by Google
  • Remember to password protect anything of value. Always use a different password.
  • Always keep an eye for unsuspected shoulder surfing.
  • Do not leave your electronic without supervision. If that is not an option, always physically and digitally lock it.
  • Do not click on “You have a virus”, “Free money” pop-ups.
  • Always have a backup (digital or otherwise) for important data.
  • Keep your device up-to-date to ensure the highest security and quality of service.

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