Safe Web Browsing
Keith is the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and Head of Global Infrastructure Services at Universal Weather and Aviation, a billion-dollar international aviation services company that operates 50 locations in 20 countries. Keith frequently speaks on various cybersecurity topics Nationally and Internationally.
Your web browser is your vehicle on the internet’s information highway and just like driving your automobile, cruising the internet can be dangerous. Your browser processes content from every site you visit and many that you may not even realize you access. This is because many websites pull their content or ads from other sites. Sometimes the bad guys create malicious websites, other times they hack a legitimate business website and turn it into a malicious site without the owner even knowing. Attackers may also use public Wi-Fi hotspot vulnerabilities to intercept your browser’s communications and eavesdrop or redirect you to unexpected places.
The following tips will help you stay safe online:
• Use a dedicated browser to conduct online banking or other sensitive transactions. If you normally surf the internet with Chrome, then use something like Firefox to do your banking. Some attacks affect only the browser that was exposed to them, so this reduces that risk.
• Keep your browser software up-to-date. New patches often address vulnerabilities.
• Scan downloaded files for viruses.
• Don’t reuse the same passwords on different sites.
• Don’t access any sites with sensitive information, banks or other highly private websites over public Wi-Fi hotspots, including Hotels. Attackers can tap communications on these networks.
• Be sure your browsers popup blockers are enabled.
• Be very cautious with “free” programs downloaded from the web. Many are perfectly safe, but many others are dangerous or will monitor your actions.
• Do not respond to suspicious error messages when visiting unfamiliar websites. Attackers use fake error messages to get you to click a link or a button which then initiates a malicious action. They may also display fake virus warnings. If concerned, close your browser and do not revisit that site. If your browser still acts oddly, first try clearing the browser data/history, if that does not work, use one of the tools discussed in the “Malware Removal” section.
• When visiting a website from an email link, type the address directly into the browser rather than clicking on the link.
• Most anti-virus tools now include a browser protection plugin. Be sure to enable it, as it can warn you of dangerous websites.