Web browsing - a few safety tips

Be aware and be safe

Phil Scattergood · 01 January 0001

Browsing the web is an awesome way to get work done, study, shop, stay in touch with friends or just have fun. But just how safe is it? In today’s blog, I don't want to discuss anyone’s browsing habits as everyone has differing opinions on what is right and wrong. But what I will say is that if a person is browsing sites that might be deemed "undesirable", then that is a security risk as many of these sites are set up by people who want to exploit online users. These types of sites should never be opened in a work environment. But if we were to think about our layers, your computer or device is ground zero, or level 1. It's where it all begins. And, there are some easy tips and tricks that you can use to keep your browsing session safe. What are they? Let's jump in and see. 

For the home or small business user, the first thing is awareness. That might sound boring, but have you ever stopped to look at where your web browser is taking you? Not sure what I mean? The world in which we live is technology crazy. Internet banking is so much quicker than standing in a queue. Next time you open your online banking, check the address line up the top. Does it show https or just plain old HTTP? If your online banking page is showing HTTP, you need to exit that page fast. That little "s" at the end stands for “secure” and to keep it very simple, it means that the computers agree on a "code" between them, and then they scramble the messages using that "code" so that no one in between can read them. This keeps your information safe from hackers. Hackers you say. Yep, we’ll talk about them in another blog. 

Now it’s worth knowing that https isn't 100% secure – nothing is. Hackers have a way of downgrading some https pages so that they can steal your password information. And speaking of passwords – always use something random, and always make sure it’s more than 12 characters in length. Why? Well, that’s for another time, but it makes things much more secure. A secure password is the first step, followed by the habit of checking your details.  

If you use Firefox, Chrome or Opera, there is a “browser extension” available for you. It’s called “https everywhere” and it makes your browser more secure. It’s free, and you can install it by googling https everywhere. So that begs the next question? Why didn’t I put in a link straight to the software? 

Because in the digital age, you should never ever click on a link that you don’t trust. Whenever I send a link to the client, I send an email or have a phone conversation advising them that the link is coming. I give them strict instructions to contact me when the link arrives. Then I can check, and make sure they have the right link, taking them to the right place. 

Why? Because hackers love to impersonate people that you might trust. You’re online, so how can you check to see if it's really me? And an uninformed person clicking bad links is what gives away around 75% of all access to hackers.  

So, there we have a few little tips. Always check where your browser is taking you. Check for https. Think about https everywhere, and never ever click on an unverified link. 

Let's talk about those links in that one in the next blog 

Share

Phil Scattergood

Phil Scattergood

Hi, I’m Phil With almost 20 years in Tech Support, I’m passionate about helping people demystify technology. Technology in your terms is the way I like to think. I love what I do, who I do it with, and who I do it for. As an avid fan of motorcycling, kayaking, and traveling, I'm often on the move. But that doesn't stop me from getting the job done. I love the idea of cloud-computing, working from anywhere, and teaching others to do the same. I believe in old-fashioned customer service, which means being available, talking to people, taking the time to understand the issues that people have, and then helping them get it right. If you have questions about the technology that you are using, feel free to send them through. I don’t always have the answers, but I certainly can help you find them!

Related Articles

Welcome to our Cyber Security Blog!
03 May 2019

Welcome to our Cyber Security Blog!

Hackers? Brandjacking? Phishing? Data Breaches? Cybercrime? If you haven't come across these terms in recent times, don’t worry. The unfortunate news is that these very real threats are making their way into everyday life, and as we adopt technology into the way we do life, the threats do become real.   

Hackers - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
09 May 2019

Hackers - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

So just what is a hacker? There are so many movies about hackers, so many idea’s & definitions of that word that we couldn’t possibly begin to talk about them all. The term "hacker" has come to mean "someone with unauthorized access" and it's fair to say that a lot of fear & mystery has been attached to it.

Cyber security - where do we start?
01 January 0001

Cyber security - where do we start?

With such a comprehensive subject, knowing where to start can be difficult. Online security comes in many layers, and having many layers is important. Just having a “virus checker” isn't enough in this day and age, and as we travel on this journey, we will look at anti-virus software, because that’s an important level of protection. But, it’s not the only one. Let me explain using personal experience. 

Can you really trust that link?
08 May 2019

Can you really trust that link?

Links. They're such handy little items as you navigate your way around the internet. I’m sure that you will find them in your email too! But you should treat them with suspicion