Here are some best practices and tips and tricks for safe web browsing. Educating employees on potential web-based scams helps reduce the risk of virus infection and data leaks or scams. Your antivirus solution works well, but it is always best to minimize this risk. Here are a few tips and practices to help reduce risk while browsing the web.
- When you use a search engine be very careful of the result you click on. Hackers use legitimate looking topics and often try to clone the look of legitimate sites in order to trick you into clicking. Scrutinize the URL to ensure you are going to a legitimate web site.
- In general, when performing a search (ie: Google), the first page or two of search results that are displayed are generally legitimate websites. Avoid anything that is not on the first few pages of the search results.
- Avoid any URL that does not end in .com, .ca, .us, .edu, .gov, or .org unless you are absolutely sure of the validity of the URL.
- Watch out for pop ups. Be extremely careful when clicking “I agree” or “OK” on an internet pop up – don’t do it if you’re on a site you don’t deal with very regularly and are expecting that popup. If you are not expecting the popup, look for the X in the upper right hand corner and close the pop up, or close your browser and restart your browsing session if the site looks especially suspect.
- Don’t install free software unless you know it is safe. Free bundled software is one of the top ways malware spreads.
- Double-check the address of the site you are browsing. Look for typos or numbers in place of letters in the website address.
- Watch for shortened URLS, or urls with numbers, hyphens, or special characters in them. If you are unsure of the website’s validity but it is a well known company, type the address directly.
- Be aware of special plugins, addins, or streaming media sites that require you to download a plugin or special media player. In the modern web, most legitimate streaming media sites no longer need plugins. If you haven’t used the site in the past and know the plugin on it is legitimate, do not add a plugin from a site you’ve not been to before.
- Never blindly accept a security dialog or execute an unexpected file, even if it comes from a web site that you visit often. Even the largest web sites can be compromised to include malware downloads and other security risks. Always carefully read and evaluate the provided text before making a decision. When in doubt – deny or cancel. In addition, some prompts on websites can be disguised to look like messages from your browser or computer – if you are getting a popup you think is risky, go directly to the company website.
- Don’t provide personal information to get something free online – criminals may use this data to break into personal or work accounts.
- Free movie, music and video downloads often include pirated content and just as often this content contains viruses and malware.
- Vary your passwords from site to site. When you use the same password across many sites it makes it easy for criminals to hack all of your accounts. Use more complex and varied passwords for sites with personal information such as banking sites.
Thanks again for helping to keep your network, and your people and data, safe from these cyber threats.
Please let us know if you have any questions.