Introduction to responsible browsing

Responsible Browsing

Hi everyone! today, we have come with another valuable topic that makes you much safer while using the Internet especially in browsing the WWW. The objective of this post is to keep you informed about safe browsing practices, safe sharing while social networking, and the importance of responsible browsing. After reading this post, you will be able to browse the internet responsibly in both personal and professional settings, share information responsibly at social media sites, and mitigate unintended consequences of unsafe browsing practices with responsible browsing awareness.

Responsible browsing

Introduction to Responsible Browsing

What is Responsible Browsing?

Browsing habits that protect your personal information and online activity from cybercriminals, while being accountable for the impacts of your browsing habits on your company’s information security.

Safe Browsing Practices

What are Safe Browsing Practices?

  • All information shared on the internet is easily accessed by the public within a single click, which makes the internet a risky place. Cybercriminals often lurk behind the scenes while internet users browse online, prying to steal sensitive information and execute other malicious activities.
  • Hence, it is important to understand and follow certain safeguards in order to defend ourselves from the schemes of cybercriminals. These safeguards are known as safe browsing practices, which are simple tips you can take to keep your online activity safe from cybercriminals.
  • In the next slides, we’ve put together a list of simple recommendations that you could follow to strengthen your browsing security.

Here are some examples of safe browsing practices:

  • Create Secure & Unique Passwords
  • Avoid Public Wi-Fi
  • Avoid Unsecured Websites
  • Delete Browsing History
  • Block & Delete Cookies
  • Disable Autofill & Save Passwords Features
  • Be Cautious of Popup Ads
  • Keep Browser Up-to-date

Create Secure & Unique Passwords.

  • Creating strong passwords makes it difficult for cybercriminals to crack the password. A strong password should have a mix of the following:

Upper case

Lower case

Number

Special character

  • Some examples of a weak password are as below:

password123

ThisPasswordIsStrong

  • Some examples of a strong password are as below:

Th1sPa55wordisStr0ng

tPwdStr0ngIt1s

T0m@toGolfBa11Eat$Cars

  • Refraining from reusing the same password at multiple sites is equally important as using strong passwords. Most of us are guilty of reusing the same passwords at multiple sites as it is more convenient to do so.
  • However, this practice would make it easier for cybercriminals to hack multiple accounts e.g. email account, bank account, and social media account upon obtaining this multi-purpose password. The consequences of hacking these accounts are devastating as it involves the loss of a lot of sensitive information.
  • As such, it is advisable to not only have passwords that are difficult to guess but also having more than one password for multiple accounts.

Avoid Public Wi-Fi

  • People use public Wi-Fi all the time, at a coffee shop, in a hotel lobby, or while waiting at the airport. However, there are many security dangers that lurk on public Wi-Fi networks. Data sent through public Wi-Fi networks can easily be intercepted by cybercriminals.
  • If you use public Wi-Fi, your personal data could be at risk. A common danger is fake public Wi-Fi networks. These have similar-sounding names to legitimate public Wi-Fi networks and are meant to trick and confused you.
  • Once you connect to these fake Wi-Fi networks, everything you do online is monitored by cybercriminals, who scan your activity for banking and social media login information.
  • Public Wi-Fi connections can also be used to distribute malware. Cybercriminals can easily plant viruses and other malicious software onto your computer via an unsecured Wi-Fi connection, causing serious damage to your computer and jeopardizing your personal information.
  • Luckily, there are ways to stay safe on public Wi-Fi:

Verify your connection. Be sure to ask the employee what the actual public Wi-Fi is to avoid connecting to a bogus network.

Avoid checking sensitive data. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, hold off on login into your social media, email, and especially your financial accounts while on public Wi-Fi.

Turn off sharing. Be sure to turn off sharing while you are on public Wi-Fi. If you leave it on while in a public place, cybercriminals can easily gain access to sensitive personal information and fields.

Use a VPN. If you need to check sensitive data like your banking account while on public Wi-Fi, use a virtual private network or a VPN. Even if a cybercriminal positions himself in the middle of your connection, your data will be strongly encrypted.

Turn your Wi-Fi off when you’re done. Even if you haven’t actively connected to your network, the Wi-Fi hardware and your computer can still be transmitting data with any network in range. If you are through using the internet, ensure that ur Wi-Fi is turned off.

Understanding public Wi-Fi risks will ensure your important data doesn’t fall into malicious hands.

Avoid Unsecured Websites

  • Websites with secured connection will have URLs that start with “https.” instead of “http://”
  • The “s” suffix indicates that the website information is secured and encrypted. This security is provided by an SSL certificate, which certifies that sensitive information entered into that site is secured.
  • Without an SSL certificate, that information is highly vulnerable to be exposed and easily accessible by cybercriminals.
  • Identify a padlock symbol in the browser window frame, which appears when you attempt to log in to your existing accounts or register new accounts. You can click on the padlock icon to verify that your connection is secure.
  • Check if the company owning the website is real. A legitimate website will have the following:

an “About Us” page: It shows a brief introduction of the company which owns the website, which clearly states their history, goals and describes what they do.

A “Contact Us” page: A legitimate website will display its contact information too. This includes an email address, a phone number, and a physical address.

A “Privacy Policy” page: It communicates how your data is collected, used, and protected by the website, as required by data privacy laws.

  • If a website does not have these pages, it is likely that it is a fake website created by an organization that does not exist.
  • Check if the web domain is genuine. Domains are used in URLs to identify particular web pages. For example, in the URL https://www.amazon.com/, the domain name is “amazon”. Knowing this, cybercriminals often create websites that mimic genuine websites to trick people into purchasing something on or logging into their imposter site e.g. https://www.amaz0n.com/.
  • An example below shows another common cyber-attack scheme, which is tweaking domain names by adding characters like “-tv”.

Domain:

“telegraph.co.uk.”

“telegraph-tv.com.”

Delete Browsing History

  • Most browsers have default settings on storing a record of sites we have searched, which is known as browsing history.
  • Browsing history is meant to improve our interface with the search engine for our convenience. However, it is often targeted by cybercriminals because search engines will store the history of searches along with the user’s IP address, which is highly valuable to scam artists.
  • Let’s explore a few ways to curb the risk of browsing history being exploited.

Configure browser to delete browsing history regularly.

Delete history manually after a browsing session.

Set browser to private browsing mode, which will not track your browsing history.

Block & Delete Cookies

  • Cookies are files that store on your device, as a history log from websites that store information about you between browsing sessions.
  • Most cookies are harmless but some are being used to track your browsing habits for advertising, or being used by cybercriminals to build a profile of your interests and activities for criminal purposes.
  • Similar to browsing history, blocking and deleting cookies is another good practice to mitigate the risk of information stored in the cookies being potentially exploited by criminals.

Disable Autofill & Save Passwords Features

  • Aside from browsing history and cookies, most browsers and many websites offer to “remember” your details and passwords for future use. This is known as the “autofill” and “save passwords” features.
  • While these features provide convenience, cybercriminals could use this vulnerability to hijack your browsing session and steal your information as you stay logged in to the website.
  • As such, disabling these features and clearing your saved passwords could mitigate the risk of exposing your sensitive information and credentials to cybercriminals.

Be Cautious of Popup Ads.

  • Avoid clicking popup ads. Popup Ads are often made to look like part of a website and are often being used to lure users into a scam.
  • These ads are typically invasive. They take up the whole page and often require you to take a survey (or complete some other action) before continuing or redirect you to another page.
  • Turn on your browser’s popup blocker. Popup blocking is now a standard browser feature and should be enabled any time you are surfing the web.
  • If it must be disabled for a specific program, turn it back on as soon as that activity is complete.
  • Although popup blocking does not negate the threat hidden in each website, it reduces the chances of users accidentally clicking the ads.

Keep Browser Up-to-date

  • Keep your browser up to date.
  • Most updates will include security patches. New patches are often released to fix existing vulnerabilities in browser software, so having the most up-to-date versions is critical.
  • If you’re not installing those updates, you may leave yourself vulnerable to new threats that pop up constantly.
  • Therefore, always make it a point to update your browser and leave no room for any form of security vulnerabilities.

Safe Sharing Tips for Social Networking

Safe Sharing Tips for Social Networking

  • Social networking is the use of internet-based social media programs to make virtual connections with friends, family, classmates, customers, and clients.
  • While social media is a platform that is often used for information sharing, oversharing certain information online can put your data at risk.
  • For example, cybercriminals can personalize social engineering attacks and spam emails based on your likes and interests. These emails often appear to be sent from “friends” or coworkers, which can be very deceiving.
  • Therefore, learning the risks of oversharing and following some safe sharing tips for social networking can help to protect your digital identity and sensitive information.
  • Be careful about what you share online. Never reveal sensitive personal information. This information can be misused by social engineers such as stealing your identity, applying for credit cards, use current bank accounts, and open new accounts.
  • Limit what you share online. Get familiar with the privacy policies of the social media channels you use and customize your privacy settings to control who sees what. A private profile is always safer than a public profile.
  • Be wary of unsolicited contacts. When it comes to friend requests, don’t accept requests particularly from people you don’t know. It could be a fake account trying to spread spam emails or viruses into your devices. You should only connect with people that you know and trust in real life.
  • Remember to log off once you’re done with social networking. Leaving your social media account logged on your device while you are physically away risking your account getting hacked.

Importance of Responsible Browsing

Importance of Responsible Browsing

  • We use web browsers every day to access information and run errands.
  • What we do not realize is how easily we could expose our sensitive information online while browsing.
  • Browsing without caution can put you at risk of all sorts of dangers, which include identity theft, data theft, and even computer damage.
  • Let’s explore more about these dangers.

Dangers of Unsafe Browsing

Identity Theft

  • Sensitive information (e.g. credit card number, bank accounts, IC number & mobile number) could be stolen & used for malicious purposes.
  • It can be used to make fraudulent purchases, sign up for new credit cards, and even apply for government benefits.

Data Theft

Files from your computer such as photographs, videos, and documents are stolen & then sold for illicit purposes.

Computer Damage

Viruses are sent to computers to cause damage and make them inoperable.

Importance of Responsible Browsing

  • Identity theft, data theft, and computer damage are just some of the few dangers of unsafe browsing practices. When cybercriminals get a hold of your credentials and sensitive information, they can use it to access your corporate networks and subsequently steal corporate information too.
  • Experiencing data breaches will not only give a company a bad reputation and affect its business operations, but it will also compromise its customer’s trust.
  • Losing customer’s trust is the last thing we have to see happening, which is why everyone in a company plays an essential role in practicing browsing habits that will improve the security of your online activities.

Recap — What Can We Do?

  • Create secure & unique passwords
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi & unsecured websites
  • Delete browsing history
  • Block & delete cookies
  • Disable autofill & save passwords features
  • Be cautious of popup ads
  • Keep browser up-to-date
  • Be careful about what you share online
  • Be wary of unsolicited contacts
  • Limit what you share online
  • Remember to log off once you’re done with social networking

Originally published at https://www.agnasarp.com on June 12, 2021.

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