In the wake of several cybersecurity attacks the past few weeks, we thought we’d put together a few tips to protect yourself (and your data!) from potentially harmful websites. These will be general browsing suggestions - for more specifics such as password recommendations click here.
The Address Bar Is Your Friend
Many of the more popular browsers provide peace of mind right there in the URL. For instance, I’m using Chrome and the address bar is letting me know that this site is secure:
You’ll notice the bar is green, the padlock next to ‘Secure’, and the altered https as opposed to simply http. These are all indications that you are browsing safely and the site you’re on – and therefore any information you enter – is protected.
Ads, Ads, Ads
It’s no secret most websites run off of advertising. With the advent of adblockers, however, pop up ads are mostly a thing of the past. Should you be browsing without an adblocker, the abundance of ads asking for information (i.e. surveys, questionnaires, etc.) should tip you off that the site you’re on is not legitimate and potentially harmful.
Keep It Current
Might seem kind of obvious, but the simplest way to keep your browsing safe is to keep the browser itself up to date. Any bugs or potential pitfalls, once found, are typically solved by an update. Updates can seem tedious, but are crucial to browser security.
This refers to your browser's private or incognito mode. Google Chrome likes to play up the spy aspect of incognito mode, but it can really be useful. If you’re not using your own computer or are just extra cautious, it is really the way to go. It’s important to note that incognito mode will not save your history, but downloads DO get saved. Another added benefit of private/incognito mode is that it doesn't track your cookies. That means no ad tracking! For example, I googled a blender last month for Prime Day and now I'm swimming in home appliance ads on every website. Should have researched on private mode!
Check Those Short URLs
Especially popular on social media, shortened URLs can be a minefield. They include the ability to hide the true destination of your click. There are ways around this from simply hovering over the link in an email/post (the full URL will pop up) to using a website like CheckShortURL.
Hopefully these point you toward safer browsing, but should you have any further questions or run across a suspicious website contact us here!