Career Advice - A Community Blog

Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

Tips and Techniques to Keep Your Internet Browsing Safe

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | May 4, 2017 10:10 PM

Maintaining your anonymity in today's modern age is becoming increasingly difficult with hackers, phishing attempts, malware and spam emails designed to steal your pertinent data. Although staying safe while browsing and shopping online has become difficult, it's not impossible. Located below are ideas and tools that a user can implement to keep their sensitive information, and their computing systems, safe during their online sessions.

Proxy Servers

One of the leading ways to protect yourself from malicious attacks and outside sources is by using an effective proxy server while browsing. A proxy server, in simple terms, re-routes your initial request for a webpage, file or other piece of information through a company's server system. Many of the these servers are located around the world and thus creates a level of privacy while you go about your browsing. These services also protect the client's Internet Protocol address (IP) from being viewed from outside sources. Every computing device is given a specific IP address that acts much like the address of your home. In fact, some speculate that there are so many connected devices that have been given an address that we may default to a different system in the near future. 

If your address is found by someone that wants to cause harm or steal data, this will allow them to do so with little effort involved. Similarly, if a client does not wish to purchase a proxy server feature, there are various methods to bypass this paywall. Services such as Virtual Private Network (VPN) search engines are designed to keep your browsing private. These platforms respect user integrity and privacy and allow people, specifically in war-plagued countries, to see certain websites blocked by their country's officials.

Antivirus Protection

Although our technology and hardware devices are evolving at an increased rate, viruses still plague our systems on a global scale. In fact, statistics reveal that upwards of 24-million homes within the United States alone have a virus inside of their computer. Even more alarming is that many of these viruses and worms are spread through the use of emails that people engage with on a daily basis. Often, emails are disguised as a message from a friend, family member or coworker in order to trick the user into opening and downloading attachment files. Once these files and documents have been downloaded, the virus spreads throughout the system and often steals sensitive files stored on the machine.

The way to counteract this problem, however, comes in using a strong antivirus software on our computer. Cutting edge technologies, like the ones created by Avira, allow users to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their computer, browsing experience and critical documents are being safely guarded from malicious behavior. The software suites also provide an extensive array of tools that allow the user to anonymize their actions behind various pieces of software and "clean your trails" after you've logged off for the day. Event logs, as the name implies, are often viewed by hackers as a means to understand the user's behavior and habit patterns to optimize their attack. These same logs can then be erased by a hacker in order to make it appear that nothing suspicious has taken place within their system.

Common Sense

Many of us have common sense in our day-to-day actions, but many of us fail to use it during critical moments. The weakest chain within an computing system comes in how gullible the user is to outside persuasion. In fact, recent studies have shown that the most common kind of attack used by a hacker is a social engineering approach. Social Engineering, in basic terms, is the use of cunning, trickery and manipulation to control people in order to achieve a specific goal.

This can be someone trying to convince you to let them onto your account, claiming they forgot their password, or requesting data that should be kept private. Don't feel bad--large companies such as Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Apple have all fallen victim to social engineering in one form or another. Knowing what to look for during these attacks makes them very noticeable to spot and deflect during moments of crisis.

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