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How to Make your Browser Safe

The web browser is an old piece of software that has been around for a very long time now, we have used it for many different tasks and over the years it has evolved to be the most used program in the world. With the addition of addons, browsers can be used for more than just navigating the internet. But with these new features some results manifest security related problems that can be exploited, no single browser is bulletproof, the next best thing is to make your favorite browser as secure as possible so here are some tips that can make your browser more secure.

1. Configure your browser’s security and privacy settings

Review your browser’s privacy and security settings to make sure you’re comfortable with what’s checked or unchecked. For example, look to see if your browser is blocking third-party cookies, which can enable advertisers to track your online activities.

For specific browser security and privacy settings, read the recommendations and steps outlined in the Department of Homeland Security’s “Securing Your Web Browser”. The guide also explains browser features and their associated risks, such as ActiveX, Java, certain plug-ins, cookies, and JavaScript.

2. Keep your browser updated

Frequently, browser updates are released to plug recently discovered security holes. So it’s important to always keep any browsers you use updated.

3. Sign up for alerts

If you are using Chrome consider setting up “Google alerts” for your browser to stay current on any emerging security issues. If you use Internet Explorer, for example, create a Google Alert using the keywords Internet Explorer security, or something similar. You can opt to receive instant, daily or weekly alerts whenever news articles or other content relevant to that topic hits the Web.

4. Be cautious when installing plug-ins

Plug-ins and extensions can sometimes put you at risk. For instance, earlier this year, it was discovered that some Chrome extensions can change service or ownership without notification to users. As a result, Chrome’s regulations for extensions are changing in June to keep extensions from becoming anything other than “simple and single-purpose in nature,” according to Google.

5. Make sure you have an AV installed

Potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) can slip past when you install any sort of software. These little buggers can switch browsers on you without warning and you might never even notice. Keeping a reputable antivirus program.

6. Install security plug-ins

The majority of plug-ins and extensions are safe, however, and some can help bolster your browser’s security. Here are three suggested—and free—browser extensions for added security.

  • HTTPS Everywhere. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and The Tor Project jointly developed this Firefox, Chrome, and Opera extension. HTTPS is a communications protocol for securing communications over a computer network, vs. the standard HTTP protocol, which is more widely used but less secure. (The ‘S’ in HTTPS stands for ‘secure.’) HTTPS Everywhere encrypts communication with many major websites to help secure your browsing experience.

  • Web of Trust (also known as WOT). This extension for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera helps you determine if a website is safe to surf. The extension displays traffic signal icons next to URLs and links. Green means the site is reliable; yellow indicates you should proceed with caution; red translates to “steer clear.” The ratings are crowdsourced from WOT’s global user base and are supported by trusted third-party sources, such as up-to-date directories of malware sites.

  • If you’re on Twitter or Facebook and you see a shortened link embedded in an interesting post, you might click it without a second thought. But shortened links have been known to mask malicious links. If you’re unsure of a shortened link, copy and paste it into the search box at You’ll see where the link would take you, without having to actually click through to the site. is also available as a Firefox browser extension.

What steps have you taken to secure your browser? Which browser security plug-ins have you installed? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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