Connected by the internet, we’ve never been more dependent on each other. Yet, the internet poses unique risks if you don’t maintain tight security protocols. Hackers work around the clock to find new ways of cracking into vulnerable systems. Here are a few ways you can protect yourself from them while browsing.
1. Update Your Browser and OS Often
One of the first things you have to do when turning on the computer is check for updates. Usually, there won’t be anything new since the last automatic one. Still, checking each time you get on the computer is always a good habit.
An OS, or operating system, is the basic software running a computer. No matter which OS your computer runs, updating it improves security. Most updates release patches that fix exploits found in previous versions.
We’d suggest clicking on your computer’s settings icon and looking for the “update” menu. Once you’ve found it, click on it and find the scheduling button. You can use this button to set up automatic updates, so it happens whenever you’re asleep.
2. Use an Up-to-Date Firewall
Firewalls can be thought of as almost like filters. By using one, nothing can go into your network without passing through a secure gateway. If an authorized connection tries entering anyway, they’re blocked by the firewall’s protocols. Protected by a modern firewall system, your network is much safer than it was without one.
Update your firewall and network at the same time. Besides your OS, most software on your computer needs to receive updates. A high-quality firewall handles all of that for you, automatically. So, it can run a similar schedule to the one the OS is using.
3. Route Traffic Through a Virtual Private Network
A VPN, or virtual private network, sends outgoing traffic through a series of servers. It prevents anything from making a direct connection with your hardware. So, unless you’ve tried connecting to it, you’re relatively safe.
Be careful, some companies won’t let you log in on their sites if they sense a VPN connection. Also, many companies prevent their employees from installing VPN software on enterprise devices.
4. Set Up WPA2 Encryption on Your Router
Never connect to your router if you haven’t set up any encryption first. Usually, setting up a WPA2 system is the easiest option. It’s secure enough to prevent anyone from hacking into your home network without a ton of effort.
Right-click on the network icon in the bottom-right corner of your screen. Then, click on properties. That should open up a screen with your network connections and settings.
From there, right-click again on the wifi connection you’d like to encrypt. Go to properties and hit the privacy menu at the top.
That’s where you’ll find the pulldown menu hiding the router’s encryption settings.
Click that, pull down until you see WPA2, and select that one. It should open up a guided menu where you can choose the router’s password. Just follow along with the prompts until everything has been set up.
5. Only Visit Trusted Sites
Even good protocols won’t protect you if you’re trying to visit dangerous sites. Pay attention to where you’re going while online, or a virus might infect the computer.
Typically, Google warns users if they try accessing a potentially harmful site. If you ever see their warning screen, just click the back arrow in the upper left. That should return you to the previous page, free from potential threats.
6. Install Antivirus Software
Of course, we’ve mostly spoken about how to prevent unauthorized connections from establishing. Still, if there’s a virus on the computer, you need something to neutralize it.
Find an antivirus software and install it on whatever you’re using to access the internet. That way, anytime a virus gets onto the system, it won’t be there for long.
How to Practice Safe Browsing Habits?
Browsing the internet is almost a necessity in the modern world. In fact, without it, many of us wouldn’t be able to do our jobs. Always practice safe browsing techniques, though. Otherwise, you could compromise the integrity of your network, letting intruders invade.