Nowadays, surfing the web is more like working at gun point, not knowing when or if the trigger will be pulled. In this case, it’s extremely difficult to protect your PC given that you even don’t know what you are protecting against. Well, while the threat may keep on changing, the target is always your browser and that’s where your first line of defense should be. In this article we will take you through some Clinical changes to your browser settings that will make it more resilient to fraudsters and malware as you crisscross the World Wide Web.
General Browser settings
Getting you browsers setting right is first step in curving out a safe haven in a potentially dangerous web. With the right setting, your browser will not only avoid communicating with dangerous site but also enhancing our online privacy. For beginners start by making the following changes to your Adobe flash player settings.
- Disable third party cookies on your Adobe flash player. This is pretty simple! For window 8, 8.1 or 7, open control panel, click on “System and Security” and disallow cookies. For windows XP, ensure the control panel is set to “classic view” in order to locate the Flash player.
- Under the Storage tab select “Block all sites from storing information on this computer” option
- On the Advanced setting tab select Allow Adobe to install updates”
It is also important to remove unnecessary plugins that make your PC more vulnerable to malwares. The Java plugin is frequently manipulated by attacker and we recommend pulling it down unless you find it extremely useful.
Use a privacy oriented Search Engine
Your choice of search engine is key ingredient in determining your security and privacy. Some search Engine like Google continuously track your browsing history and you wouldn’t trust them to cover your tracks. For improves security and online privacy tryout the following search Engines. Note, we’re not promising total web anonymity but basic privacy that ought to be enjoyed by all web users.
- Startpage: It’s a powerful such engine that block Google ability to track you. It can be installed directly from the Internet. Upon installation you will be prompted to give it a name and a Keyword. For name, enter ‘StartPage HTTP(S)’, Keyword “com’ and remember to save your setting. To make it your default Search Engine, Go to the Settings Icon of your Browser and click on Manage search Engine’ button. Proceed to the Other Search Engine section, click on Startpage Entry and make it default. Click ok to save your setting.
- StartPage.com: The search engine may not be as powerful as Google but it won’t record your IP address or use tracking cookies. It has an advanced search capability in and compares the search result with other search engines to give the most accurate searches. To make it your default search engine follow the steps described above. But, for name use ‘StartPage HTTP(S)’ and Keyword enter ‘com’ and remember to save the settings.
Modifying your Current Browser
Here, we’ll take you through a few setting changes to your Chromium browser that will make less vulnerable to malwares and more secure from online fraudsters. Notably, all Chromium browsers including Google chrome, SRWare Iron and Comodo Dragon, employ an inbuilt Google Safe Browsing blacklist feature to protect against potential harmful sites. Their Sandboxing is strong but browsers like Chrome have a few privacy concern. Comodo Dragon on it part has a ‘Comodo Secure DNS’ option giving it an edge over it chromium cousins. We recommend turning on this feature if you’re using Comodo Dragon.
How to Improve Security on Chromium Browsers.
Comodo Dragon has few security concerns. For Google Chrome and SRWare Iron we recommend making the following changes.
- Go to Setting and select ‘Show Advanced Setting’ option, usually at the page bottom.
- Enable “check for server certificate revocation” option
- Select “Enable Phishing and Malware protection” check box.
How to improve privacy on chromium Browser
- Go to ‘Settings” and click on ‘show Advanced Setting’ Options
- On Privacy Section uncheck the “Use a prediction service to help complete searches and URL…” Option. This only applied to Chrome browsers.
- Also remember to Uncheck “Predict network actions to improve page load performance” and select the option to ‘Send a “’Do not track’ request with your browser traffic” for all browsers.
- For Google Chrome, Uncheck the “Use a web service to help resolve navigation errors” option.
- On Content Setting tab, check “Block third party cookies and site Data” box. This option will preventing loading third party tracking cookies and will have minimal effect on your browsing experience.
On this section, we will consider a few changes to Firefox and its Variant browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, Comodo Ice Dragon , Waterfox and, Pale Moon . Like with chromium browsers, all Firefox browsers employ Google Safe Browsing Blacklist to steer away from potentially harmful sites. Comodo Ice dragon comes with an option to enable secure DNS making it the best in terms of security and privacy. However, for improved security and privacy we recommend a few addition browser extensions and changes to your privacy setting.
How to improve browser security using extensions
Note that these browser extension could work perfectly with other browsers such Chromium Browser, Opera and Internet Explorer
Web of Trust (WOT): this extension filters for phishing site, online scams, and other malicious content on the web that may harm our PC. It displays a warning messages if you happen to stumble on a potentially harmful site.
Bitdefender TrafficLight: if installed, it counter checks all sites visited against a list of potential harmful site blacklisted by Bitdefender. It will prevent such sites from loading thus keeping you safe from Phishing sites, malicious pages and other online scams.
Adblock Plus: We recommend this extension for both advanced and basic users. It will help block malicious sites by allowing you to subscribe to filters list such as Easy privacy, Easy list among others. Note, subscribing to too many list may slow down your browsing experience. A combination of Easy privacy and Easy list will just be fine.
How to Configure Privacy setting in Firefox Browsers.
- Go to Menu and Click Options
- On the Privacy Tab, check “Tell websites I do not want to be tracked” check box.
- On the History Tab, select the “Use custom settings for history” and remember to deselect the option to “Accept third-party cookies”. ; This will ensure no tracking cookies from other sites.
- For advanced users we recommend clearing your browsing history when the Browser closes. To do this, go to “setting” and specify the type of data you want cleared.
Generally, opera has fewer security concerns compared to Google. It is also easy to configure for a better experience. All the same, we recommend installing a few browser extension and making clinical change to your privacy setting.
Extensions to enhance Privacy on Opera.
LastPass: It’s an efficient password manager that protects your passwords and sensitive data from unauthorized access. It also help in creating strong password and constantly changing them to ward off phishing masters.
HTTPS Everywhere: it makes sites with encryption option to encrypt your connection to the site.
Disconnect: It prevents tracking form third party sites, Ad companies and search engines that continually monitor your Key strokes.
How to Configure Opera for Privacy.
- On the Drop down menu, click on Setting and proceed to
- Under the Cookies section, check the “Accept cookies only from the site I visit” option. This will block tracking cookies from third party sites being loaded on your current page.
- The Privacy section, select “Send ‘Do not Track’ request with your browsing traffic” or “Ask website not to Track me” depending on you’re the Version of Opera you are currently using.
- Advanced users, may opt for “”Never Accept Cookies” on the privacy section. This however will stop some sites from working and that’s why we recommend enabling “Delete new cookies when exiting Opera” instead. This implies sites will not remember your info after existing opera.
- Remember to click “OK” to save your settings.
Top/Featured Image: By Sean MacEntee / Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/smemon/4620148826/)