Many of us have a love hate relationship with our browsers. I mean you can’t live without them, but then, without warning, they turn on you – pop ups, adware, cookies. So what is a person to do?
Business and residential users of all the well-known browsers really need to understand how to manage settings, extensions, and updates! The more you know the safer your online life will be.
This week we will look into browser security settings.
Each browser will have these settings in slightly different locations in their menus, but almost all will have these options:
- Turn on Send Do Not Track Requests Edge: this is under the Privacy & Security > Privacy Settings. In Chrome this is under Privacy and Security, More
- Always Block Pop Ups – you can use your discretion to allow them individually on trusted sites
- Turn on protection from malicious websites. Edge: this is known as Windows Defender SmartScreen. Chrome: Privacy and Security > More > Safe Browsing
- I strongly recommend that you turn off Save Passwords and Autofill – if cookies or browser data is stolen then the attackers will have less information to use against you. Chrome: look under Settings > Autofill for Passwords, Payment Methods, and Addresses and more.
- Turn off Adobe Flash player – you will then be asked to turn it on for certain, trusted websites. Be cautious about which sites you allow flash for.
- Limit or block Media Autoplay, as ads (with adware/spyware) increase your risk of browser infections
- Open and set your Website Permissions to restrict sites from using your mic and camera, as well as other selections, like locations. Allow as few restrictions as you can. Edge: this is under Advanced settings. Chrome: Settings > Privacy and Security > Site Settings > Permissions
Other settings you’ll want to check out…
- Turn on the “Ask me what to do with each download” – this will increase your awareness about allowing downloads. For Edge: this is in settings > General > Downloads. Chrome: Settings > Advanced > Downloads
- If your computer is used by another person, make sure that each of you set different themes on your browsers… so that you don’t accidentally get linked to another user’s search habits. Having different themes makes it easier to notice at a glance who is logged-on to that browser. Chrome: themes are under Settings > Appearance
- Block third-party cookies and clear Cookies when you quit your browser – this does slow down the time that it takes to load sites, but the additional security is worth it. On Chrome: under Settings > Privacy and Security > Cookies and Site Data > See all cookies and site data. This allows you to see all of the cookies that have been created and you may be amazed at how many sites you don’t remember going to! Use the delete Trashcan icon to get rid of the cookies that you do not recognize.
- For Chrome users – In Settings > Advanced > Reset and clean up – you can have Google Chrome search your computer for harmful software and clean it off your computer. Keep in mind, this is not meant to be a replacement for a good, solid Anti-virus program!
As I mentioned in Series 2 Part 2, keep all of your browsers and your operating system up to date! Edge will update with your Windows Patch Tuesdays. Chrome will have a notification to the right of your profile image in browser bar.
We would love to hear your feedback on Browser Security. If you have a topic that you would like to see discussed, just give us a shout and we will look into it. Until next time!