Our web browsers are the main tool for connecting to the internet providing a wealth of information. If you're under the impression devious websites are the only places where malware awaits its victims, you are in for a shock. Malware lurks in many corners of the Internet; often in places where you'd least expect it. All it takes is to be in the wrong place at the wrong time to compromise your Internet browsing safety. An unprotected computer is like an open door for websites that threaten your Internet safety with malware, spyware and computer viruses. Firewalls monitor internet traffic in and out of your computer and hide your device from online scammers looking for easy targets. It's important to keep your security software installed and updated on your devices to help protect you from cyber security threats.
Staying safe while browsing the internet is critical in today’s environment of data breaches and an ever changing cyber security landscape. The act of simply going on-line exposes you to many threats. Some of the most recognizable threats are:
- Viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, ransomware, unwanted advertising – collectively known as malware
- Phishing - stealing credentials or possibly your identity
- Deception - entities posing as charities, banks, computer support help
- Social engineering – earning your trust for the proposes of you divulging sensitive information
You can help protect yourself and family while visiting websites by following some simple guidelines. The most important is to be aware and mindful of your browsing activities:
- Move your curser and hover over any link BEFORE clicking to show the true destination
- Look for a green padlock icon in the browser or make sure the site url contains the s in "https:\\" at the beginning of the address to indicate you are on a secure site. Do not enter personably identifiable information such as name, passwords, social security numbers, and credit card information if you're not on a secure site.
- Once you arrive at your internet destination double check the address for typos to make sure it matches the intended address. Sites taking advantage of mistyped internet address is known as “typosquatting.”
- Check the website’s contact information usually found on the homepage or by clicking on the “about” link. If in doubt spend some time researching the address and phone number by simple internet searches.
- Grammar can be a good indication of a website’s integrity. Look for spelling and excessive typos known as "Scammer Grammar."
- Always seek professional advice before investing any money online.
- Only download software from sites you know and trust.
- Use filtering and blocking software to protect children from inappropriate content.
- Avoid websites that ask you to download software to continue using their site.
- Ignore and close website pop-ups warning you that your computer may be infected with a virus.
- Keep your browser up-to-date by installing the latest patches and updates.
- Utilize virus protection from one of the major software providers.
- Don’t use the same password for your online accounts.
For more cyber security tips visit our Digital Fraud Center.