Safely Navigating the Web
The first step of improving your personal cybersecurity is making sure that you are safely navigating the web. This is the simplest, yet most effective way to improve your personal cybersecurity.
Think of your cybersecurity as your home. You can have the most complicated lock (password and 2FA) and the best security system (firewall), but they are pointless if you just let an intruder in (downloading bad software).
What's The Best Defense for Your Cybersecurity?
You read that correctly, YOU are the best defense for your cybersecurity. You can have all the tools and all the anti-viruses, but you can still leave your computer unlocked, download the wrong software, have your data leaked in a hacked server, etc. If you are able to be proactive, then you can stop hackers and intruders from accessing your valuable information.
What Should You Be Looking For On The Web?
Secured vs Not Secured Website
The first and easiest thing to check for is if the website you are on is secure, meaning that the information sent from your computer to the web is secured and encrypted.
On your web browser, check the URL to see if it contains “https://” as the beginning. If it just contains “http://”, without the “s”, it is not secured.
You can still browse a website that is not secured, however, be wary of downloading software, entering personal information or payment information as the information is not secured and encrypted.
Ads can be annoying and bothersome when browsing the web. While ads can seem harmless, there are malicious ads on websites that you may visit frequently. Not all ads on websites like Facebook are safe and they may actually lead to a malicious site. Besides not clicking on ads, because it sometimes does happen to all of us, we can install an AdBlocker on our browser to ensure ads no longer show up.
- For Chrome, you can visit the the Chrome Web Store and search for AdBlocker. The one that is currently used the most is getadblock.com or Web Store Link.
- For Safari, you would need to download the app from the App Store to use with Safari.
- For Firefox, you can also get an extension for the browser by using this link.
- For Microsoft Edge, you can download the extension here.
Check to make sure that the website is how it normally looks. Does something look off? Does the URL look the same? These little things are used by hackers and phishers (more on this later) to get your credentials and information.
Look at these two links
Which one is real and which one is fake?
Hackers and phishers use these small changes in letters can catch many of us off guard. In the example above the letter “i” is changed to an “l” to make it seem similar to the point that the user may not know the difference.
Let’s discuss these “phishers” a bit more.