CybersecurityInternet browsing

Many people browse the internet at work to research a certain topic, make transactions, use social media, and much more. To enhance the website experience, programmers add features, such as videos, slideshow animations, sign-up forms, and search boxes. Adding a feature to a website lowers the browsing security for the visitor by adding a security hole a hacker can enter. These cybercriminals concentrate on searching for vulnerabilities in popular features used by websites and browsers. Once hackers find vulnerabilities, they can steal your information, destroy your data, take over your computer, and track your online activities. These attacks can result in slowed work processes, lost work time, increased risk of identity theft, and a damaged business reputation.

What are the most common security risks when browsing the internet?

  • Running the Java software platform:  Java is a computing language that allows software programmers to create applications that can run on almost any type of computer, including Microsoft Windows, Apple OSX, and Linux. This software operates with your browser and enterprise programs such as Citrix GoTo Meeting requires its use. However, hackers target this platform heavily since many people install Java software and do not run the updates regularly. Make sure to have the most recent version of Java installed on your computer. Also, only use your browser’s Java plugin if you are using a trusted program. Otherwise, leave the plugin off.
  • Enabling JavaScript for any site: JavaScript is a scripting language that allows the website to have interactive elements, such as roll-over buttons and dropdown menus. JavaScript is DIFFERENT from Java; they are two completely different scripting languages. Even though developers update the JavaScript platform regularly, you should use it with caution, since it is also a popular area to attack. Therefore, the JavaScript plugin on your browser should be set to enable it for trusted sites only.
  • Phony security alert pop-ups: You have seen a window pop up stating your computer has a virus, which would then prompt you to download removal software. This so-called remedy will install malware on your computer. This scareware can slow your computer, steal your data, redirect you to a malicious site, and even block your visits to anti-virus provider websites. Make sure to install anti-virus software and stay current with the software updates. Also, ensure your browser is set to block pop-up windows; Firefox has this setting on by default.
  • Not clearing out your browser cookies: Cookies allow visitors to store their data on their computers for specific websites, such as login credentials, user preferences, and credit card numbers, so they can get a faster, more customized user experience. However, cookies store these bits of personal information in one place on your hard drive. If your employee has their laptop stolen or login session hijacked, the criminal can search through your temporary internet files and steal this data. Make sure to only share your confidential information with a known, trusted website over an encrypted, HTTPS connection. Also, set your browser to delete cookies at the end of a session. Furthermore, block third-party cookies; advertisers may use these cookies for malicious activities. Finally, we do not recommend using autocomplete for your personal information.
  • Overloading on add-ons: Add-ons, such as gTranslate, Pocket, and Hootsuite adds extra functions to your browsing session by allowing you to translate text, save articles for offline reading, and share content on your social media sites. Add-ons increase the surface area of security risk to your browsing experience. Limit the number of add-ons you install and make sure they are from trusted sources. Also, set up your browser to prevent websites from installing add-ons without permission.

How can you reduce internet browser security risks?

As technology changes, developers will introduce new browser and website user experience features, thus presenting new opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit their victims. A proactive network and computer security plan can help your business manage these risks by including the following:

  • Use a next-generation firewall: A firewall’s basic task is to regulate the flow of traffic between computer networks of different trust levels. SonicWall will scan your business’ network use and block your employees from accessing potentially risky websites.
  • Deploy anti-virus/anti-malware protection: This software will scan your computer regularly and stop the installation of viruses and malware. As new threats arise, the software will provide updates.
  • Keep up with Windows updates regularly: Microsoft will periodically provide service packs and patches for the Windows operating system to prevent malicious attacks. A managed services provider can monitor your workplace’s network and deploy these updates as they become available.

SwiftTech Solutions can help your business manage the security risks involved with employee internet browsing. Protect your business now by contacting SwiftTech Solutions for a review of your network security. You can call 877-794-3811 or email for a free consultation.

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