How to make your browser more secure
Internet browsers come in many different formats, depending on the hardware (e.g., PC, Mac, Smartphone) that you’re using. Usually, you’ll have a browser installed as standard on your machine by the manufacturers. Which one you have will depend upon your Operating System, with Apple’s Safari, and Microsoft’s Edge being the most common. However, there are many other options including Google Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Which you choose is a personal choice, but they all have a number of things in common that can make them more or less secure.
Unfortunately, all browsers are susceptible to similar types of attacks, as they are one of the most insecure apps you can use. This is mainly because they are your main method for accessing other people’s computers via your internet connection.
Most browsers priorities performance over security, however there are a number of things you can do insure you’re as protected as possible.
Use a VPN
A VPN or virtual private network is a server that acts as a go between for your computer and the computer you’re trying to connect to on the internet. This means that if a malicious actor at the end of the connection, or someone attempting to hijack the connection, cannot gain access to your device.
These are extensions added to your browser that can do anything from block malicious websites, to block cookies, to hiding your IP address. Which extension you use will depend on your browser of choice, but we would recommend checking out something like Privacy Badger.
Disable Other Extensions
This may seem like a contradiction to our previous point, but some types of browser extensions can be used to gain access to private information or to track what you’re doing on the web. Download and install extensions at your own risk.
Autofill can be very useful if you’re frequently filling out online forms or purchasing things online. Just bear in mind that all that personal data, including sometimes credit card information or payment details, are being saved on your browser and are available to anyone who is able to get access to your device, either physically or remotely.
Use a Private Browser (incognito Mode)
Using a private browser mode, such as Google’s incognito gives you built in protection against tracking and cookies, as all the third-party cookies from websites are deleted at the end of your session. This ensures websites aren’t tracking your activity around the internet.
Update your browser and use 64-bit browsers
Browser updates often come with new improved security features, and developers are constantly fixing bugs that malicious actors use to gain access to your person data. So, it’s always worth checking that you are using the latest version of your browser. Linked to that, modern 64-bit browsers have an added inherent protection because of something called address space layout randomization (ASLR). It randomises memory locations to protect against specific types of malware attacks. Always opt for the 64-bit version of your browser if your device can handle it.
As with anything, when using the internet it is important to apply common sense and think about what you are doing to protect your security. All the best preventative measures won’t help you if you download and run malicious programs from dangerous websites. Always make sure you know who runs the websites you’re visiting, and never run a program that you don’t know the origin or publishers of.