Currently, there are over 4 billion active users of the Internet from all around the world. And, since around 57% of people in the world can access the Internet, it is essential to secure your web browser and have multiple web browsers to get alternate ways of instantly accessing web pages.
Among all problems associated with web browsers, the security factor has always been at the top of the list. Every Internet user has a right to privacy when surfing the Web.
The web browser you use should thus be able to cover all aspects of online security. There can be lots of consequences when using unsecured browsers to access the Internet.
Reasons Why You Should Secure Your Web browser ?
1. Leakage of data
Everyone who uses the Internet is vulnerable to cyber attacks in one way or another. It happens because you always leave some traces of your information when browsing the Internet. Some of the details you leave behind may be attained by untrustworthy browsers or hackers.
Black hat hackers are always looking for security holes over the Internet, which they can use to acquire their next victim. No one wants their data to be out there within reach of a stranger. Data leakage can be eliminated or minimized if you set up extra features in your web browser.
2. Malicious websites
Malicious websites can install any kind of malware in your mobile device or computer and disrupt some operations. Also, the malware can steal your confidential information and use it against you. Usually, the sites might ask for your permission before installing the malware into your system. The websites resemble authentic ones, and thus you can easily fall into the trap.
Most popular browsers warn you when you are about to visit an insecure website. Some of the browsers can block such a site while others just notify you and let you make the decision. Browsers that don’t have default security features require you to change the settings or set up some additional tools.
3. Unnecessary advertisements
Most websites collect your information and sell it to third parties. The third parties get their profits by displaying ads to you so that you can purchase an item or sign up for a service. While some ads might be useful, it gets annoying when multiple companies have your data and flood your phone with ads.
Some of The Best Web Browsers For Security
The Tor Project, in 2002, launched the Tor browser to enable users to browse the Internet anonymously. Tor, based on Firefox, hides your online activities using a series of encryption processes. The browser is mostly associated with illegal activities, but that is not always the case. You can use Tor to access regular websites, besides its onion sites securely.
Tor does not keep records of your browsing history since it clears cookies after the browsing session is over. Although ISPs and other organizations can see when you connect to the Internet using Tor, they cannot have any further details than that. Apart from PC, users can use an Android version for accessing the Tor network.
Brave came out in 2016 to provide Internet users with the privacy they much needed. While still quite new, Brave has attracted many Internet users because of the privacy features it has. You can choose the kind of data you want to delete when you finish using the application. The Brave web browser also entails some features of Chrome and Tor to maximize security when browsing the Internet.
Brave developed a currency, the Basic Attention Token (BAT), to allow its users to make anonymous payments to publishers and get rewards. The payment system works within the Brave platform to secure any online transactions. The BAT currency is yet to take off as initially intended since there have been issues with the coins.
3. Mozilla Firefox
Firefox is one of the most popular web browsers which have high-quality security features. Although a non-profit organization, Mozilla has continuously been updating Firefox’s privacy settings to fix emerging issues. Some of these features include malware detection and blocking access to malicious sites.
Firefox users can access the browser’s source code to ensure there are no threats hidden anywhere in it. The browser is widely used on Microsoft Windows operating systems. It also has versions for Linux, macOS, Android, and iOS.
4. Apple Safari
Apple Safari, a default browser on Apple devices, has some of the best features when it comes to Internet privacy. The Safari browser ensures that all plug-ins are free of malware by maintaining a plug-in blacklist. Upon permission, it can collect some of your information to customize your browsing experience. However, the data cannot identify an individual user.
In 2009, Apple released a patch for some previous exploits to provide more security in the web browser. Apple also announced in 2017 that it would integrate artificial intelligence into Safari to minimize web tracking through cookies. The cookies would be disabled after 24 hours. Safari was available for Windows until 2012 when the last version became released.
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Additional Ways To Improve Internet Security
Let’s have a look at some of the ways you can secure any browser to ensure you are entirely safe.
1. Enable software updates ⬇
Some browsers update themselves automatically when the developer releases a new version. Others only notify you so that you can manually complete the update by visiting the manufacturer’s website or another online vendor. Software updates are necessary to rid the browser of any security risks that users might have experienced before the new version.
You should ensure that your browser is up to date by checking for updates online. Also, enable automatic updates so that you get a new version as soon as it is available. You can read the web browser’s terms and conditions to get detailed information on how to go about updating the application.
2. Use a VPN
VPNs mask online activities by encrypting personal data such as browsing history, online transactions, and locations. It is especially useful when connecting to the Internet using public Wi-Fi networks. Since hackers prey on individuals using insecure networks, you can download a VPN for your browser to evade their attacks.
Some security agencies like the FBI can access people’s data for use in enforcing the law. It is hard to freely do things or express yourself online, knowing that someone random might be watching your moves. E-commerce websites and other online sellers also use your browsing behavior to show you ads of their products or services. With a VPN, you no longer have to worry about exposing your details on the Internet.
3. Install an antivirus
Unwanted files and applications might find their way around your browser and enter your storage system. At this point, the security features of your web browser cannot help you eliminate the potentially malicious files from your device. Such files are also difficult to detect without an appropriate scanning.
Most antivirus programs can easily remove the unwanted files from your device in a single click. A powerful antivirus can block any malicious files from getting into your system through web browsers. You should enable automatic scans for malware and also perform the scanning manually from time to time.
4. Configure your browser’s settings ⚙
Confirm the security settings of your browser to ensure it fulfils all your privacy needs. Only use the browsers that you think have everything you need for safe browsing. Look for features like address and password saving, blocking ads, camera settings, and disabling of redirects.
Adjust the settings as you desire and research more about the bits you don’t understand. You can even email the manufacturer to get more information. Once you are comfortable with the setup, launch your browser, and enjoy the Internet.
5. Play safe with plug-ins and extensions
Before adding a plug-in or extension to your web browser, be sure to verify the source. There were issues with Google Chrome’s extensions where some of them altered some details saved in the browser. The risky part is that users didn’t get the notification that some adjustments had occurred. Chrome quickly updated all extensions to ensure that they are safe and straightforward.
When using Chrome, it is essential only to download extensions that have Google’s approval to avoid instances of losing useful information stored in the web browser. Google verifies all the extensions in its store, but that might not be enough. You should check the developer’s site, read the description in detail, and confirm if you can keep up with the permissions. Since extensions pose a threat, you can also avoid using them as a way of customizing your web experience.
6. Set up security plug-ins
Several extensions can add a layer to your security. Most of them are free and user-friendly. Here are some of the security extensions that you can use in Chrome and other browsers.
✅ HTTPS Everywhere
This browser extension ensures that all the websites you visit are secure, that is, they have an ‘S’ at the end of HTTP. Thus, it secures communications over the Internet by encrypting requests sent from your computer. You get to enjoy a browsing experience without worrying about unsecured sites. HTTPS everywhere works with Chrome, Opera, and Firefox.
✅ ZoneAlarm Web Extension
The ZoneAlarm extension is freely available for use by Chrome users to protect their browsing. It displays all the secure sites which you can visit and filters out the insecure ones. ZoneAlarm scans for risks that might expose you to phishing attacks. The phishing attacks occur when filling in details like your email address. Also, ZoneAlarm scans for malicious attachments in your downloaded files and gets rid of them.
✅ Web of Trust (WOT)
WOT determines for you which websites are safe to browse and displays colours to notify you on the safety level of a site. The extension is available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Internet Explorer. WOT is recommended for upholding browser security and has high ratings.
7. Regularly check for news and alerts
You can visit tech news sites to stay updated about all upcoming security issues concerning browsers. Most websites have a notification feature that brings you closer to the latest news. You should enable the feature when prompted so that you only visit the sites when the headlines attract your attention.
Browsers like Opera show you the articles that relate to what you might have earlier been reading. Google also offers alerts on topics about online safety, depending on the frequency you set. If you keep yourself informed, you can stay ahead of any Internet security risks.
The Internet has long been helping people to gain more knowledge and connect with friends remotely. However, when using the global network, you might expose yourself to some risks. It becomes necessary to keep safe while surfing the Web to avoid being a victim of any kind of harm.
On top of using secure web browsers for Internet purposes, you should also apply some extras to further protect yourself. Try out each security measure when online since all of them are crucial. With safe browsing, you can acquire more good things out of the Internet while suppressing negative experiences.
It’s your turn now: what browser security measures do you take?
Let me know in the comments right now.
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