Much of today’s communication takes place online. Such is the extent that studies show around 16 million messages are sent between devices each minute. This is a staggering amount of information which makes it a tempting lure to any cyber-criminals or hackers.
Now is the time to be more vigilant of how we as individuals use the tools available to make sure our information remains private and we are safe while online.
Nearly all websites use tracking in one way or another. This can be for advertising purposes or as they say to enhance your surfing experience. Unfortunately, these tracking sites do not protect your data so everything is pooled together and available for any hacker to tap into. One of the best add-ons you can get for a browser is Disconnect Me.
This simple in appearance browser extension shows which tracking sites are connecting to the site you are visiting. Many are blocked by default yet you can further block others. This prevents your information being passed on and can also speed up your browsing experience.
Many internet connections are now carried out by WI-FI. These can be susceptible to hackers using packet sniffers to get into your connection or to find your computer IP address and break into your computer. With a VPN app, you hide your connection from view as well as your location being masked.
Packet sniffers become redundant as the encryption used is high strength and the same as used by financial institutions. Good VPN services protect you in your home where they can often be set at a router level or for when you are roaming and making use of a public WI-FI hotspot.
Malware and How to Stop It.
This can come from many means. It might be a dubious link in an email or a software download that has hidden code. Malware is currently one of the most significant threats that can lead to identity theft or your personal information being used to log into your accounts.
Anti-malware programs are the solution to this as they prevent any suspect software being installed before it has a chance to do any damage.
You could find your system has keylogger programs or spyware that sends information to the hackers, or you fall victim to ransomware that locks your system until you pay to have it unlocked.
All of these can cripple your system and take numerous hours to correct the problem. Good antimalware software programs can easily keep your system updated from these types of threats.
Pop-Ups and Advertisements
Each time we surf the internet we are bombarded with pop-up windows and advertisements. If any these are suspect, it is easy for an individual to enter sensitive information when asked for them to log-in. Good ad-blockers can quickly be installed into your browser which stops these from showing themselves. uBlock Origin is currently one of the most downloaded extensions of this type. It can automatically block these pop-ups and prevent these dubious advertisements from making an appearance. You also have the control to block page elements further if you do not wish them to be shown in the future.
All these online threats have pushed many companies who offer web-browsers to beef up internal security, and to some degree, they do an excellent job of eliminating or allowing individuals to browse safely.
One of the main areas where they offer safer browsing is through private browsing mode. Although this is not set by default, it is easy to select from your browser’s menu. What happens with this incognito mode is that any images, cookies or online forms that you have filled in while on the internet are not stored when you have finished.
When surfing outside of this mode, all this information is stored on your device and can give hackers all the information they need about you.
Many browsers will now also identify sites that appear to be suspect and either lock access and ask if you wish to proceed, or they make you aware visibly that the site is un-secure.
All of these, when used together, can protect you from most of the threats individuals are faced with when online.
That being said there is nothing stronger than common sense and being aware of what dangers are there. Most of the above are available for any device you have, be it a laptop, Android phone or iPhone or any other variation.
They might be provided by different companies, yet the tools are there to make your online presence safer and more enjoyable.