Tips and Software for Browsing the Internet Safely


Since the internet’s conception, hackers and criminals have been using it to obtain personal information about users. Now, people use the internet more than ever before, but there are also more safety features to keep your identity and data secure if you know where to find them. There are many different types of safety features in the form of software, browser add-ons, and extensions that can help you feel safer when you browse online. This article will cover the major options that you have in protecting yourself on the world wide web.

1. Use a Secure Browser.

Before you download any software or install any extensions, you need to ensure that the browser you use is a safe one. There are dozens of browsers to choose from out on the web, and not all of them offer the same security features. Computer security company McAfee recommends the following browsers for their security features:

  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Google Chrome
  • Google Chromium (the open-source version of Chrome)
  • Brave
  • Tor

These browsers are compatible with any device, including mobile devices, and most allow further extensions that allow you to increase your security. Using a secure browser is the first step to ensuring your safety on the internet, so be sure to research your favourite browser before committing to it.

2. Install Antivirus Software.

Antivirus software is vital in your defence against viruses, malware, and adware. If anything dastardly does make it past your browser’s security settings, it very likely will not make it past your antivirus software. Often retailers will include antivirus software with your computer when they sell it to you. Still, it is essential to keep that antivirus software up to date, and often you can benefit from upgrading the features as well.

PCMag, a leading authority in technology since 1982, recommends the following 13 antivirus software options for 2021:

  • McAfee
  • Norton LifeLock
  • Kaspersky
  • Bitdefender
  • Webroot
  • ESET
  • Malwarebytes
  • Sophos
  • Trend Micro
  • F-Secure
  • Cylance
  • G Data
  • Emsisoft

Research whichever option that you choose to determine if it is the best choice for your needs. Remember that you will need to keep up with all updates and new features to ensure that you have the best security for your computer at all times. Out-of-date antivirus software is useless, as hackers continuously evolve and develop new strategies.

3. Download Security Extensions.

  • AdBlock | Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, Edge: One of the first extensions you should download that will increase your security is an ad blocker. The most popular ad blocker is AdBlock, which is available for almost any browser. This adblocker has been around for over a decade and continuously evolves to block the new kinds of ads that websites come out with all the time.
  • Microsoft Defender | Edge, Chrome, Firefox: Naturally only for Windows users, Microsoft Defender scans websites that you click on to see if they are malicious and prompts you not to visit the page if it is a dangerous website.
  • Ghostery | Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Opera: Ghostery helps block ads just like AdBlock, but it does more as well. It lets you know when websites track your movement and informs you how they may use that data. For $11.99 a month, you can even upgrade to VPN services, providing you with ultimate invisibility while you use the web.
  • HTTPS Everywhere | Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Edge: HTTPS Everywhere replaces your website connection HTTP with HTTPS where possible, providing you with a more secure, encrypted connection. This allows you to browse the internet with more privacy, and some browsers such as Firefox have even built it in as a feature in their existing browsers.

4. Engage in Safe Browsing Habits.

The most basic step in maintaining your safety online is to keep safe browsing habits. It is never a good idea to rely on software or browsers to protect you entirely; these protections are simply a backup to your safe behaviour. Here are some tips to remember while browsing the internet.

  • Don’t reuse passwords. Reusing passwords across multiple websites is incredibly dangerous. If a hacker gets hold of one of your passwords, they will have access to all of your accounts that share that password. Experts recommend using passphrases that you will remember. SANS Security Awareness gives two examples of good passphrases: “Sustain-Easily-Imprison” and “Time for tea at 1:23.” Using capital letters and symbols make them more robust, and they can be even stronger if you replace letters with numbers or symbols, such as the letter “i” with “1.”
  • Never click on links from sources you don’t recognize. Scammers have gotten very skilled at mimicking trusted sources. Be sure to read an email address carefully to ensure it is the person they say they are, and if you are not sure, err on the side of caution.
  • Create throwaway emails. Avoid providing your email address for registration whenever possible. Many websites such as house temporary inboxes where you can receive a confirmation email and never use the email address again. This prevents the site from selling your email to third parties and your inbox from getting cluttered.
  • Avoid file-sharing websites. Mass file-sharing websites such as BitTorrent and Limewire are breeding grounds for viruses as anyone can upload files there for anyone to download. Similar to clicking on links, only install files from websites and sources that you trust.
Tips and Software for Browsing the Internet Safely
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Tips and Software for Browsing the Internet Safely
Learn tips for safe browsing and find out what support you can get via software and browser extensions to help you maintain security while you are online.

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