When online, accessing a banking site or any other application containing sensitive data, make sure you log out of the site and THEN close your browser. If you simply close your browser, some of the session information that a hacker can use to gain entry into your computer is still running in the background.

How Secure Are Internet Browsers?

First, let review the browsers you may know.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome is by far the most popular browser. Unfortunately, it’s also a data collection tool as well and not a good choice for anyone looking for privacy.

Microsoft Internet Explorer/ Microsoft Edge

Edge is a Microsoft product. Internet Explorer and Edge are also closed-source, so there’s no telling what funny business is going on behind the scenes, and they’re also not the best for privacy reasons.

Opera browser

Opera started off as a decent browser, developed in Norway. However, in 2016 it was sold to a Chinese consortium for $600 million – and a lot has changed. Need I say more?

Safari browser

And for our Apple friends, While Safari is more secure than many of its PC based counterparts, we all know Apple also collects lots of info from Safari users. So again, it’s not the best choice if you’re looking for secure web browsing.

Unless your browser is properly configured, it may contain a lot of private information that can be exploited – or collected – by third parties. That information can include:

  • Your browsing history, that includes all the websites you visit
  • Your usernames and passwords
  • Cookies and trackers that are placed in your browser by the sites you visit
  • Autofill information, like names, addresses, phone numbers, etc.

Even with a locked-down and secure browser, there may still be attack methods that reveal your data and potential identity.

So, what should you do?

Don’t stay logged into your email or social media accounts. Trackers from these sites can record your activity when you browse the web. If these sites get hacked, all that data is now for sale on the web and accessible to anybody.

Here’s a possible solution to the problem. It’s called Browser Compartmentalization.

This is when you use different web browsers for different online activities. For example:

  • Browser #1 will only be used for accessing your online accounts that require a password. You can stay logged in with only this browser, and it won’t be used for general browsing
  • Browser #2 will only be used for web browsing, with various privacy configurations and no cookies or history being stored on the browser.
  • Browser #3 could be completely locked down for maximum privacy and security.

How secure are you when you browse the web, check your email or check your social media accounts?

There are several browsers designed for higher security. A quick search of Google, Bing or Safari will provide lots of options. Whatever you do, please do NOT use the TOR browser. While it is one of the most secure browsers, it also has the highest potential for danger. A word to the wise SHOULD be sufficient.

There are lots of posts online that will give you ideas on how to secure your browsers. Just search for “How to secure my browser”.

As always, if you’re not sure what to do, or you want more specific help, please call HBBTech at (636) 542-8653. We will be happy to help you in any way we can.

That’s it for tip #14

Next week’s tip will be “Your firewall is USELESS unless…”

Remember, it ain’t poisonel – it's jus bidness.

Til nex time.