Tips for Safely Browsing Online

August 4, 2022

a person working on a laptop with graphics of a document and a lock hovering over

The internet in 2022 is like a digital version of the wild west, it’s vast, open-ended, and as full of opportunities as it is danger. That being said, there are measures that can be taken to ensure that one’s browsing experience is as safe as possible, and today, we are going to look into those measures in a bit more detail. And while this guide is especially aimed for those who are fairly new to or don’t have much experience browsing the internet, experienced users might also learn a thing or two.

Activate/Check-up on Windows Defender Firewall

First, make sure that your Windows Defender Firewall is on. You can do this by typing “defender” in the search bar and selecting Windows Defender Firewall. Make sure it is toggled to the on position. From this window you can also manually choose which programs are or are not allowed, as well as choosing more some more advanced settings.

Consider using Malwarebytes

If Windows Defender isn’t enough, or you suddenly find yourself faced with a nasty virus or two, download Malwarebytes, run a full scan, and watch those viruses disappear. This anti-virus software is highly recommended because it targets both viruses and malware, something which other anti-virus programs struggle to do. Malwarebytes also offers a free 14-day trial.

Make use of Incognito Mode

Entering into incognito mode is a great way to browse the internet anonymously. It’s not a perfect system, but in situations where you don’t want your browser to save any of the information you are typing/search, start by entering into incognito mode. This mode is available via Chrome browser only, but Edge also offers a private browsing mode which does the same thing.

Create Safe and Varied Passwords

When it comes to passwords, there’s a few tips that will help you stay unhacked:

  • Always include a number, capital letter, and a symbol
  • Use at least eight characters (this is often a requirement anyways)
  • Never use your name, children or parents name, surname, or middle name
  • Avoid passwords linked to hobbies or activities you enjoy
  • Avoid using the same password twice. At the very least, create variations of your password

Avoid Suspicious Links and Offers

Simply put, if you get an offer for something that seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re not sure about something, google it along with the word “scam” and see what pops up…

Watch what you Download

Downloading files is probably the easiest way of contracting a nasty virus, so before you download a file, make sure you trust the source completely. When in doubt, check it out! If you’re not sure about a file, google it along with the word virus, and see what comes up!

Consider using a VPN

VPNs are the ultimate safety net when it comes to browsing anonymously online. They aren’t cheap, but they effectively hide your IP from the rest of the world. As an added bonus, VPNs also allow you to access Netflix content from virtually any region around the world!

This post originally appeared on the AT Help Desk (new window) website.