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How to Browse the Internet Safely?

Summary
youth
This article explains to the youth how they can stay safe when they are browsing online and how to know if their devices got breached,

Days after days, our dependency on the internet becomes more and more essential. We rely on it to perform our daily and routine tasks such as online learning, remote working, entertainment, cooking, and many others...

We connect and browse the wide unlimited online world searching for our interests and the latest information and news. 

Hence, the Internet is one of the greatest inventions to humanity, it has drastically changed our entire lives and the way we communicate, collaborate, and operate, and we look for information. 

However, these changes do not come for free. The Internet is full of risks, challenges, and threats that increase on daily basis. Thus, ensuring our online safety while browsing the internet is a very essential step toward protecting our self from any potential harm caused by cyberattacks, such as ransomware, viruses, and many other forms of cyberattacks.  

 

What exactly is “Safe Browsing”? Is it related only to going into safe and legit websites? 

For me as an expert “Safe Browsing” simply means the ability to browse the internet for the time you need and access any resources without being infected by any malware that might steal your data or identity. 

Hence following safe browsing best practices besides, thinking critically, should allow you to browse the internet searching for any kind of document and doing any type of research without encountering or falling into any phishing traps. Even when you are accessing well-known and legitimate websites, these websites might be compromised and spread malware to the people connecting to them. 

Some of the resources related to high-level topics might not be easy to find so this will require you to dive deeper into the wide and wild internet to get what you are looking, hence critical thinking and vigilance are the most required technics needed to pass such challenges, and installing certain applications such antivirus that have safe browsing capabilities that are needed to identify any infected website prior connecting to it. 

In addition, you could use Google's safe browsing feature which helps in managing fake websites alert and guide you to correct and legitimate websites. 

Also, safe browsing means not allowing any third party or the website company to get into your computers by using any kind of add-ins such as cookies, which they might install onto your laptop by using simple scripts to collect and spy on your data. 

 

What should I be aware of or look for to make sure that my data did not get stolen or my computer did not get breached? 

Having your device compromised due to unsafe browsing or due to the extended connectivity time is a common issue as no one is safe and far from being a victim. But the difference between one person and the other is the awareness and vigilance on detecting the behavior of this incident by comparing the initial behavior of the device. 

Hence you should know very well your device and how it operates as the common indicators of a compromised device are as follow: 

  • Performance degradation; having a device compromised affects its processing resources such as processor usage as well as memory consumption, so look and monitor these two by checking the task manager of your device. 
  • Unusual heat and continuous noise generated by the Fan, due to the increased processing caused by the infiltration. 
  • Unusual behavior of the browser such as strange pop-ups and ads appearing, or the browser main page has been replaced or redirects you to a new unfamiliar page. 
  • Internet slowness, and quota consumption, due to high traffic generated by your device and have been sent out of your network. 
  • Losing local storage space; some of the malware tends to create empty files which take place in you your storage. 
  • Antivirus being deactivated.  

If you are still worried and you are not able to identify if your device is breached, get in contact with a trusted expert. 

 

Are there certain steps and precautions I should follow each time I am on a website or it depends on the website itself or the online activity I am doing? 

Ensuring the safety of the website and its visitors is the responsibility of the website owner and developer, as they should be very careful in maintaining that their own portal and services are safe from spreading any type of malware, as well to not be used as source of spams, or being used for identity theft by using third party cookies or add-ons. 

Still, you have to be vigilant when accessing any website, even the reputable and secure ones they are more susceptible to attacks, due to the impact and trust they do have and the high number of visitors. 

Besides, and to ensure safe browsing, you can take the following precautions into consideration: 

  • Do not click on embedded links, do type it in the URL field. Using links in emails and website is one of the most known phishing attacks as the attackers might alternate these links by replacing some letters so it directs you to a different, not genuine website. 
  • Use common sense; does the website look fine?  does it have any unusual ads or images? Is the URL correct? This is a bit tricky since many websites are using URL forwarding as it takes you from the original URL to a new one. 
  • Try to check the website legitimacy; check the contact and address details, look at the website sections and list of services, does it reflect the business of the company you are looking for? Check and verify its digital certificate by clicking on the lock pad if it is using HTTPS protocol. 
  • Watch out for any unusual popups, do not allow pop-ups unless needed and you are sure they are legitimate. 
  • Block unnecessary cookies and third-party add-ins and do not allow them unless necessary for the website to operate, 
  • Do not forget to check the website’s terms and conditions and privacy policy so you can have a clear idea of what type of data the website is collecting as well as how this data is being used and with whom it is shared. 
  • Do not neglect the warnings the browsers and your antiviruses share with you as both have the features and capacities to detect unsolicited and fake websites. 

 

Yes, being safe while browsing is a challenging process and requires a high level of vigilance and awareness due to the day-to-day changes in the type of attacks and the used technics, but it is still achievable by monitoring and following the advice we have shared with you in this article. 

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Last edited
30-06-2021
Reading time
6 minutes