Are You Protected When Searching the Internet?

Our Philadelphia Help Desk is addressing virus and malware network issues more frequently than ever. It seems to be happening, in large part, due to unsafe web browsing habits.

snapshot of a bug on a computer screen displaying code on the internet browsing safety tips post

Image compliments of Guilherme Tavares at Flickr

I’m willing to bet that more than half the time people are not even aware they might be doing something that could compromise the integrity of their computer and safety of their family. Oftentimes a scan has to be run to diagnose the problem, and by then, it’s too late. The malware is on your computer. The damage is done.

The other concern is the longer malware stays on a computer, the more opportunity it has to download and install additional malicious files or extensions to Internet browsers which will just exasperate the problem by increasing the infection.

The internet browsing safety tips I’m going to share next are intended to be proactive, to help you figure out when you might be at risk and what you can do to minimize the chances you’ll get infected.

Safe Browsing Software

Malware is software that has been specifically designed to interfere with the normal operation of your computer. It can be disguised as a download, a seemingly harmless e-mail or an even less obvious prompt. It’s easy to get tricked. It happens every day. Google Chrome alone reports 3 million site warnings per week.

Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari have integrated Safe Browsing software into their browsers to identify unsafe websites and notify users so they can protect themselves from harm. A listing of known phishing and/or malware sites and files is maintained and a warning issued when you attempt to enter sites or download files. That, or the sites are blocked altogether.

Browsers are constantly enhancing the “Safe Browsing” service. According to ZDNet, Firefox has a layered approach which will first check the file for a valid digital signature and ensure it’s on a list of known-trusted publishers. If it passes, then the file is considered valid. If not, Firefox proceeds with a file reputation check.

Google Chrome recently took Safe Browsing a step further by protecting against programs that switch your homepage or other browser settings. A warning will be displayed if you’re considered at risk.

How To Check To See If You Are Protected

It’s important to make sure you use at least one of these three browsers on your work and home computers. I personally use Google Chrome with an ad blocker plug-in on all my computers.

How can you check? You’ll need to look at your browser settings.

screen grab showing the enable phishing and malware setting in Google ChromeIn Chrome, you’ll want to make sure the “Enable phishing and malware protection” option is checked under Advanced Settings > Privacy. For Firefox, in “Options” under “Security,” you want to make sure to check the options about warning sites that try to install add-ons and blocking sites reported as web forgeries or attack sites.

What To Do If You’re Infected

While “Safe Browsing” is constantly making improvements for added protection, you still might get infected. Hiring a Managed Services Provider will help with more proactive steps such as implementing powerful firewalls, installing up-to-date antivirus software and ensuring a secure Internet connection. You’ll also want to make sure you have access to a back-up and disaster recovery solution such as our own. Keeping your data stored off-site and readily accessible makes it quick and easy to restore your systems should a disastrous event occur.

For more information, contact ITAcceleration and our Help Desk take on Internet Safety. We specialize in making technology work for you so you can focus on your business priorities.

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