Browser Security & Privacy is an essential piece of utility for a digital user, especially on the desktop platform. If you have a computing device, it should have at least one browser for surfing the internet. Due to the fact that web browsers are so widely used, they also need to be properly configured from a security perspective. Usually, default browsers on your computer or mobile device are either not secure enough, or require some additional work to make them immune to cyberattacks.
The Internet is a huge digital world containing many suspicious programs, and browsers act as a primary gateway through which you can access this digital world. Using an unsecured browser can result in malware attacks, viruses, or even the hacking of the device. Moreover, different software on a device can interact with one another, so it is quite possible that another software could exploit a security flaw in your browser.
These websites are fake clones of legit ones and thus it is difficult to distinguish them. The primary purpose of these sites is to trick users into giving their personal information without realizing they are being faked. Taking a look at the URL of these sites is the easiest way to verify them, as they cannot be cloned from legit sites.
Spyware is a piece of code that gets integrated into a digital environment and tracks user activities in order to send them to an unknown party. Most likely, this unknown party is the attacker who wants to steal your private information.
As the name suggests, a keylogger is a piece of software that integrates into your digital environment and records and steals keystrokes. For example, a keylogger can steal your password when you type it.
There are some websites that contain pop-ups and ads that can redirect the user to another website containing malicious code.
Some users discover a browser that has a lot of extra features that aren’t available in mainstream browsers. Although these features may seem tempting, they can sometimes compromise security.
Although there are several threats associated with the browser and online browsing, you shouldn’t assume that there is no way to secure browsing. You can counter browsing threats by following these practices:
Developers of the browser constantly monitor the product for vulnerabilities and push out updates to address those vulnerabilities. Therefore, users should always keep their browsers updated.
Make sure where the hyperlink takes you. Don’t click any hyperlink you find suspicious. Furthermore, avoid clicking unknown URLs from your inbox.
Watch out for the online guides to harden the security on your browser. The browser developers most likely put the documentation on hardening the security of the browser. Otherwise, a third-party guide from a reputable source can be used.
Most of the web browsers are either based on Chrome or Mozilla and both of these platforms have their respective online Ad-Ons store. Users can install third-party extensions that block ads and popups to increase browser security. However, take care when selecting an extension because these extensions are uploaded by third-party developers, so only install reputable ones, like uBlock Origin, HTTPS Everywhere, to mention a few.
In this era of ad-sponsored web, even the most secure browsers can collect your private browsing data to share with its advertising partners to serve targeted advertisements. Web browsers were introduced as a tool to surf over the internet, but now they have become the primary source of data collection for large companies like Google, Facebook. While Google Chrome is the most widely used web browser, it is also notorious for collecting and sharing private data like browsing history, cookies, and trackers. The following are some ways to stay private while browsing the Internet:
Choosing the right browser alone can make a huge difference in terms of privacy protection. Many popular choices are available in the market, but only a few of them provide proper user privacy on the internet, while others are notorious for spying on users’ every move. Some privacy-friendly options include Firefox, Brave, DuckDuckGo (android), and Tor. Since all of these browsers are open-source, there are very slim chances for data collection in comparison to something like Google Chrome.
Many browsers allow you to disable tracking from the settings menu. Look online for instructions from your browser provider.
It was always told to us that incognito mode is the best way to hide our identities and remain anonymous. Well, it turns out that this is not the case, as incognito mode also exposes your IP address to ads and trackers. Moreover, ISPs can also log user traffic on their end. VPNs can help solve these problems, but selecting the right VPN is vital, as ill-intended VPNs can potentially monitor and share user data. Some honorable mentions include iVPN, ProtonVPN, and Windscribe.
One of the most effective ways to harden a browser is by adding additional add-ons specifically tailored for better privacy. However, you should not blindly trust all extensions on both the Mozilla and Chrome web stores. Do your research before relying on any extension, because these Add-Ons are published by third-party developers, and choosing the wrong one could backfire. Some notable add-ons are Privacy Badger, DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials, Cookie Autodelete, and Decentraleyes.
Data is the new gold in this era and both ad-driven companies and malicious hackers are always in a hunt for the private data of the user. Staying anonymous while having top-notch security features in a browser can be a challenging task. However, hardening the web browser for better security and privacy is well worth the effort. It is also worth noting that no technology is perfect and that even the most hardened web browser can have its limitations. But with that said, the above guidelines can help internet users improve their online experience both in terms of security and privacy.