Staying safe while having an enjoyable online experience is becoming more difficult as viruses, unwanted adverts and inappropriate content crop up around every corner. Online advertising, to take just one, is becoming ever more obtrusive and downright annoying. But as we attempt to ignore these irritating adverts, they fight against us to become even more intrusive, creating a vicious cycle.
If you want to put a stop to this, follow these practical tips for safer browsing:
1. Purchase reputable anti-virus software
This can’t be stressed enough! It’s really important to ensure that you are safe from viruses and harmful malware that can hide on your computer, creating a multitude of issues. It is also important that you regularly run checks and updates of this software to ensure that you are continually protected. Similarly, you should regularly check for software updates on your computer, which may contain security and bug fixes in your software.
2. Stop the trackers
Sites now require that users accept their cookies in order to browse that site but many users do not know what they are actually allowing. Ensure that you have your cookies enabled, but don’t have tracking cookies enabled, which will monitor your browsing and personal information. You can choose to accept cookies, but disallow third party cookies and disable cookies when you close your browser. These changes can be found in the privacy section of your web browser settings or preferences. Your personal information and browsing history will be much safer.
3. Download an ad blocker
Simple features can be added to your Internet browser to enable you to block online adverts, which may contain inappropriate images or infect your computer when clicked on. You can also disable tracking and malware with the same tool. Good software has an Acceptable Ads feature, which allows unobtrusive adverts to be shown while blocking the annoying ones. They also allow you to tailor your online experience by selecting sites you want to see adverts on, and blocks unwanted adverts on sites like Facebook and YouTube. Gone are the days of adverts flying across your screen or pop-ups opening something inappropriate.
4. Be careful what you click
Fake websites and pop up adverts can often appear legitimate and there are thousands of ads telling you how to make lots of money, lose weight, offer you a great job and many individuals fall victim to these money-grabbing schemes. Be careful when clicking on a link to be sure that what you are clicking through to is safe. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is! Similarly, email accounts can be easily hacked, sending spam. If the email does not look legitimate, do not open the attachment or click the link.
5. Create strong passwords
Websites which require a personal login such as online banking, PayPal accounts and email accounts are susceptible to hacking. To ensure that your accounts aren’t intruded upon and remain safe from hackers, create strong and unique passwords. As annoying as it is, passwords should not be the same across different sites/accounts and should contain a mixture of lower and upper case letters and numbers. This will help to keep your personal and valuable information private.