Almost everything you can do from a computer these days can be accessed via a web browser. You just enter a URL address in the address bar and off you go. Because web browsing is such a big part of the online world these days, it’s important to be safe when perusing. Following are a few ways to be safer:

  • If you are putting sensitive data, such as your credit card number, into a browser form, make sure the site is secure before doing it. Look for a lock icon somewhere on the browser and/or an “https://” in front of the address. If it isn’t there, don’t put in your information.
  • Make sure anti-malware is installed and kept it updated on all devices you use to browse the Web. Keep in mind that if you purchase a product with several licenses that allows you to run it on several devices, you will need to update it on each one separately. Alternatively, enable it to automatically update when one is available. Then, you won’t have to worry about it.
  • Use a firewall. Most operating systems these days have some type of basic firewall protection. Make sure it’s enabled.
  • Don’t click on pop-ups. In fact, make sure that all of your browsers have the pop-up blocker enabled. However, if one gets through, make sure to pay attention to the message and choose appropriately. Sometimes important dialogues are confused with pop-ups and are quickly dismissed or accepted, but shouldn’t be.
  • Don’t reply to spam emails. If your email service allows you to report messages as spam, take advantage of it. This helps cut down on spam overall.
  • Learn how to identify phishing. Often this means paying attention to where a link is taking you and if it doesn’t make sense, don’t go there. Phishing attempts come in email messages and also can be found by just visiting a website. Adware also often contains malware that can steal information off your computer. Hover over the ad or link and if the URL it is directing you to doesn’t make sense, don’t go to it.
  • Don’t let your browser store passwords, especially for any site that has private information such as your financial data.
  • Avoid using public or free WiFi, especially for connecting to websites that have confidential data about you such as your financial information or healthcare data. If whatever you need to do cannot wait till you get to a secure location, use the data capabilities on your smartphone.

Remember that if you have kids, their exposure to web browsing and the Internet starts very young. Teach them safe browsing habits right away and everyone will stay safer.

Donovan B. Fox© Copyright 2017 SDFCU.org