The Web Browser Is Essential To Your Computers Security

The Web Browser Is Essential To Your Computers Security



For most people,​ the​ web browser is​ central to​ what you do on​ your computer. Companies are increasingly putting more and more services on​ the​ web and are encouraging their customers online. Securing your web browser is​ a​ vital part of​ surfing the​ web safely and keeping your computer free of​ viruses,​ spyware and other threats.

Most people own a​ computer which runs Microsoft Windows XP or​ other variants of​ the​ Windows operating system. This means that by default most people use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser and therefore hackers focus their efforts on​ finding vulnerabilities in​ this program.

The most important step you can take to​ securing your web browser is​ to​ make sure that the​ version you are using is​ the​ most current version and has all the​ latest patches or​ updates installed. Hackers exploit vulnerabilities in​ the​ software to​ steal personal information and take control of​ your computer. Make sure that automatic updates are switched on​ and that you immediately install any updates you are prompted to​ download.

Given the​ well documented issues with Internet Explorer it​ is​ worth considering an​ alternative browser like Mozilla Firefox or​ the​ Opera Desktop Browser. You will still need Internet Explorer for some sites,​ however due to​ the​ increased popularity of​ the​ Firefox browser most sites now work with both Internet Explorer and Firefox as​ standard. Both alternatives pack some impressive features liked tabbed browsing which Microsoft is​ only just catching up on. Switching browser does not mean that you are 100% secure but there is​ currently a​ much reduced likelihood of​ being impacted by security issues.

Regardless of​ what web browser you use a​ lot of​ information about your surfing habits is​ stored on​ your computer. Common items include the​ URLs or​ web pages you visit,​ files which have been downloaded,​ “Cookie” files which websites put on​ your computer and parts of​ the​ web pages you have viewed. it​ is​ therefore good practice to​ scrub this information on​ a​ regular basis. You can do this manually through your browser’s Options menu or​ use a​ free software tool like CCleaner which is​ highly recommended.

You should also be aware that “Active Content” settings on​ your browser pose a​ security risk. Active content are scripts which websites use that are executed in​ your web browser to​ give enhanced functionality like drop down menus. the​ three main versions are JavaScript,​ Java and ActiveX. Within the​ Options of​ your browser’s Tool menu there are ways to​ control how these scripts are handled. While the​ more limitation you add will enhance your security,​ you will loose some functionality from certain websites.

The good news is​ that the​ computer security industry is​ developing some great new products and services to​ help you protect yourself online. There appears to​ be an​ increasing emphasis on​ developing tools which help prevent your computer being infected in​ the​ first place.
A good example of​ this is​ a​ web browser plug-in called “SiteAdvisor” which was recently bought by McAfee.

SiteAdvisor gives each website it​ visits a​ red,​ yellow or​ green rating based on​ various tests it​ carries out. These ratings then conveniently appear next to​ search results in​ Google and other search engines. This helps users determine whether a​ website is​ safe to​ visit. Anti-spyware tools like Webroot’s Spy Sweeper and PC Tools’ Spyware Doctor also include sophisticated active protection features as​ standard.




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