Most of us are more than happy with our web browsers, under the false notion that viral attacks and malware threats are not in any way linked with them. But what we forget is that web browsers are also just computer programs in that they allow us to connect to the internet and any LANs.
But since browsers are the mediators between users and internet, they have actually become the main target for accessing a person’s system without their knowing – which can lead to activities like PC monitoring. Here is what you need to know about your browser.
1. Browsing Scripts:
But if your web browser is using scripts from unreliable websites the chances are you are at great risk for attack from all sorts of malware and computer monitoring software if you aren’t already infected. So make sure you regularly check the running browsing scripts to avoid installed computer monitoring software and apps.
Cookies are data packages that get sent to systems from external servers or websites across the internet. These data packages get saved onto a user’s hard disk via their web browser.
The aim of cookies is to actually make logging onto sites most frequented easier. As soon as a user clicks the website the installed cookie supplies all the info necessary and a user gains access to the server instantly. Again, like browsing scripts cookies in themselves are not harmful.
However, they can be exploited by malicious scripts and since they contain sensitive information this could be damaging to you system’s security. Further hackers send out spy packets which target cookies in transit in order to steal data, known as ’packet sniffing’. Avoiding bad and insecure cookies should greatly reduce this risk.
If you are using latest browsers like Mozilla firefox or Google Chrome then these browsers have functionality to alert you before installing any third party cookies.
3. Lack of Updates and Antivirus:
One of the reasons that users find themselves at risk in the cyber world is that they do not use updated versions of browsers. The older a web browser it gets, the more likely it is to be infected by more advanced malware and viruses.
If a new update or version is available, it means there were flaws in the older version which have been rectified. So being an aware user, you must keep up with updates for your browser. Also, browsers which are run without anti-virus software put you at a very high risk of infection.
If an antivirus still leaves you feeling unsafe, you can install anti-spyware apps on your system to fight that particular threat and prevent PC monitoring. If not, then don’t be surprised when your browser becomes a hotspot for bug traffic.
4. Built-In Vulnerabilities
According to research, some browsers have built-in vulnerabilities. This means they are designed with some security flaws which can be exploited by hackers and malware developers. The most common of these built in vulnerabilities is the Plug-In feature. Plug-Ins includes Flash Player, Adobe Acrobat Reader, etc. If your browser has a high number of vulnerable Plug-Ins, then even those hosts running the most updated and secure versions are at risk. In this case, it is advisable to limit and monitor the Plug-Ins one uses. Delete any which seem vulnerable or are of no use.
5. No URL Filtering:
Many vendors now offer a URL filtering technology which actually limits threats to your system to a great extent. URL Filtering technology means that around a certain perimeter (mostly businesses and company premises) a restriction for certain websites gets set up. These are those sites which are known to be malicious or suspicious for being infected. By using browsers with URL filtering options, the threat of Drive by Downloads gets reduced. Most vendors now offer this feature and it should be opted for.
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