Simple Tips To Secure Your Browser And Stay Safe Online

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Last week we showed you how to install one of the most secure Internet browsers in the business. This week we will talk about, how you can keep your online browsing safe and secure by following a few simple suggestions. These suggestions are generic to any Internet browser. 

Rule 1: Clean Cookies, Browser Cache And Browsing History: Before we show you how, let me explain a little  about it. “Cookies” are basically files that are stored on your computer by the web sites you visit. They are used to identify you and your information pertaining to that site (like user ID, site settings etc), so that the next time you visit the site you have a experience customized to your needs. A typical example is when you shop online using a shopping chart, “Cookies” are used to track your purchases. Though they are generally harmless, these “Cookies” can be used by other malicious sites to track your activity online and steal you personal information.

“Browser Cache” (Pronounced ‘Cash’) is basically the content of the websites you have visited, stored locally on your computer, so that these web pages open up faster the next time you visit them. Even though cleaning “Browser Cache” might make your browsing experience a wee-bit slower, in this age of broadband internet it is hardly noticeable.  “History” is just what it means, a history of the sites you visit. Both these should be cleared for the very same reason mentioned earlier.

To clear Cookies, Browser Cache and Browsing History in you Chrome browser, click the wrench icon in your browser address bar then select “Tools” and from the drop down menu select “Clear Browsing Data”. Now select the options shown in the screen shot below and click “Clear Browsing Data” button.

chrome tools clear browsing data

Note: It is recommended to clean Cookies, Browser Cache and Browsing History every time you surf the net or at-least at the end of each day.

Tip: If you are lazy like me :) and would prefer not to type the complete URL (web address) every time, then I suggest that you bookmark the page instead of relying on your browsing history.

Rule 2: Never Save Passwords And Forms: Like with any other password you use, never save passwords or forms you use or fill while browsing online to your browsers memory. Even though this might inconvenience you a little, remember it makes it harder for any malicious site or hacker to steal it.

Rule 3: Disable Unwanted Plugins And Extensions: Pluggins and Extensions are additional bits of software that can be added to your Browser to extended its capability to display various kinds of web pages, like the ones containing Flash, Java applets etc. Do not go plug-in happy and try to install all available onces under the sun. Be as conservative as possible and only  use the once that you absolutely need and from well known reliable software makers.

Rule 4: Use Common Sense And Ask To Be Notified: Plain old common sense can save you a lot of unwanted hasle. Do not visit sites that sound fishy and unsafe. Avoid clicking on links that are part of email forwards if you do not recognize them or if the source email is not directly from a known person. Note, this is how most viruses are spread, even in big corporations. Secondly, ask the browser to notify you every time you get re-directed from the parent site when you click a link. Though this is very common, caution is advisable.

Rule5: Always keep your Browser And Operating System Up-To-Date: As and when new security vulnerabilities are discovered, software vendors usually release a update. It is very important to update your Browser and Operating System software as soon as possible or alternatively you can set it do be done automatically.

By now you must be asking yourself, so when is he going to show us how to implement these rules. Exactly, what we will do next, click the wrench icon in your browser’s address bar then select “Preferences”, this should open a new browser tab. Now follow the below screen shots and select or de-select the options shown to implement the rules we just discussed above. Note, unlike rule 1, you need to configure browser preferences (shown below) only once. Safe surfing.

Update – June 2012 – All options shown below under “Preferences > Basics”, “Preferences > Personal Stuff” and  “Preferences > Under The Hood” have been moved under “Preferences > Settings” in the latest Google Chrome version.

Preferences > Basics:

chrome preferences basics

Preferences > Personal Stuff:

chrome preferences personal stuff

Preferences > Under The Hood:

chrome preferences under the hood

Preferences > Under The Hood > Content Settings 1:

chrome preferences content settings 1

Preferences > Under The Hood > Content Settings 2:

chrome preferences content settings 2

Preferences > Under The Hood > Content Settings > Plugins

chrome preferences plugins

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About Vijay

Computer junky for 20 plus years and still obsessed with it. I enjoy exploring and tweaking popular operating systems and tinkering with computer hardware. Professionally, I work as a Storage Systems Administrator. When not on my computer, I love to travel, shop, read and hang out with my family and friends.

Comments

  1. Check out the below link to learn more about handlers.
    http://support.google.com/chrome/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1382847