How to browse the web safely in a couple of steps

Untrusted websites are those that contain malware or trick you into installing software that contains malicious viruses on your computer

We use the internet every day. It broadens our views, connects us with people from all over the world, answers countless questions, enables us to work online, and keeps us entertained for hours.

However, even simple daily use of the web puts us at risk from cyberattacks, malicious viruses, and sensitive data leaks.

This might include browsing the web, looking at memes, shopping online, or watching funny cat videos.

A couple of steps you can take today to make your Internet safer include learning to recognize unsafe websites, installing AdBlock, installing both a Firewall and antivirus, employing Secure Web Gateway

Recognizing unsafe sites

Untrusted websites are those that contain malware or try to trick you into installing software that contains malicious viruses on your computer.

They pose as legitimate sites - which is why people rarely suspect them.

So, how do you know if a site is safe to browse?

You’ve probably heard that the site is safe if it has HTTPS (S standing for safe) instead of HTTP and a locked padlock next to it. This is not a reliable form of confirming that the site is safe.

The site is unsafe if it’s too good to be true - low prices for otherwise expensive products or promises that your problem will be solved within an unreasonable time period. Or if it’s lacking information about the owner of the site – no important details such as contact information, insisting on payment with cryptocurrencies, and NOT bombarding you with privacy and cookie policy you need to confirm before you continue.

Installing AdBlock

Pop-up ads can contain malware or lead you straight to the infected website and they’re difficult to avoid. Even clicking the ‘X’ that closes the ad can infect your device with a virus.

Installing AdBlock decreases the chance of accidentally clicking on a malicious ad (also known as adware).

However, some AdBlock services also collect your data for advertising.

Use trusted AdBlock services or a VPN feature that enables you to block ads.

Installing a firewall and antivirus

People tend to only have a firewall or an antivirus, but you need both to safeguard your devices because they have different purposes.

A firewall protects both software and hardware, while an anti-virus is more focused on software.

Firewalls defend your network from suspicious activity, not letting them into your systems. It does so by identifying and filtering malicious traffic.

An anti-virus informs you that someone has already compromised your device, and it deals with the virus once it enters your network.

As soon as it detects that the virus is in your system, good anti-virus software can prevent it from causing further damage to your device.

You need both because you can get malware on your computer in different ways - some may come via an infected USB or an email link, while others from viruses you downloaded from the internet.

Employing secure web gateway

Secure Web Gateway (SWG) protects organizations from possible cyber-attacks. Besides filtering web traffic, it makes sure they follow the right security policies and regulations.

Similar to a firewall that recognizes unwanted traffic, SWG filters suspicious traffic to protect your devices. The difference is that SWG is more focused on advanced attacks that can hurt organizations.

SWG offers layered protection that covers data recovery, anti-virus protection, the filtering of malicious URLs, and HTTPS inspection.

Data recovery keeps the sensitive information within the organization and prevents businesses from unintentionally losing important data.

An antivirus is the layer in SWG protection that mitigates bugs such as Trojans or adware (malicious ads).

Filtering URLs prevents employees from ever reaching such sites. It’s increasingly difficult to recognize suspicious sites of your own.

In the case that SWG detects that the website is not safe during HTTPS inspection, or that the app contains malware, it blocks it, not allowing access to a malicious site or an app.

Key takeaways

The Internet has made our lives much more convenient, but it has also put our lives and data at risk.

Recognizing unsafe sites from secure ones by looking for signs of scam websites such as a lack of cookie policy and insisting on crypto payment is a start.

These tips will help you confirm your suspicion about the site, but it’s not the most reliable technique. You also need the right tools to detect malicious online activity and malware.

The tools you can use to protect your PC or mobile phone while browsing includes Firewalls and antivirus programs. Reliable AdBlockers can save you a lot of frustration, too.

Most importantly, the highest level of protection you’ll get is from layered protection such as Secure Web Gateway. It defends your network against numerous threats you and your employees might encounter on the web.

Disclaimer: No Deccan Chronicle journalist was involved in creating this content. The group also takes no responsibility for this content.

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