Your internet browser is the gateway to the big, bad, dangers of the internet. When your computer gets infected by a virus, there’s a 95% chance that you were infected through your internet browser.
However, your browser is also the most important part of your computer’s online security. Your browser can be as secure – or unsecure – as you want it to be.
This is the first and most important rule of browser security. Your browser maker constantly releases updates for security, usability, and other reasons.
By keeping your browser updated, you’re loading it up with the latest security definitions.
Typically, your browser will have automatic updates enabled by default. This is the recommended setting: as soon as an update is released, the browser will automatically download and install that update.
Plugins are all across the internet. Unfortunately, plugins are also a major source of exploits and security loopholes.
By default, plugins run automatically as soon as you open a webpage. When you enable click-to-play plugins, you’ll need to “click to play” each and every plugin with which you want to interact.
Yes, you’re sacrificing usability. But you’re vastly improving security.
Oh, and enabling click-to-play plugins will also significantly reduce the loading time for each webpage. The internet will feel way faster.
To enable click-to-play plugins, go to Settings > Content in most internet browsers. Chrome, for example, lets you choose if you want to run all plugin content, detect and run only important plugin content, or choose when to run plugin content manually.
Whether you call them extensions or plugins, the “add ons” for your internet browser pose a major security threat.
Many of these add-ons are legitimately useful. AdBlock, for example, can block malicious advertisements and is regularly updated to enhance its performance.
Other add-ons, however, can quickly become out-of-date and useless. They clog up unnecessary space and reduce performance.
But that’s not the real problem with old plugins.
The real problem is that sometimes, a new developer will take over an old plugin. That developer may launch an update to that plugin, knowing the update will be instantly delivered to thousands of users. This is an easy way for an attacker to spread a malicious piece of software across a wide area instantly.
In any case, remove old extensions that you no longer need or use.
The plugins that you do use need to be updated so they’re secure.
Typically, browsers like Chrome will release plugin updates automatically. It’s always a good idea to check your plugins, however, for new updates.
Not all plugins update automatically by default. Outside of your browser, you may need to manually update programs like Adobe’s Flash or Acrobat, or Java, to stay safe online.
There’s a 32 bit and a 64 bit version of Chrome. The 64 bit version is much safer and – in many cases – faster.
There’s a good chance you’re using the 32 bit version of Chrome and you don’t even know it.
To check your version of Chrome, go to the “About” section (click the three horizontal lines in the top right corner of the browser, then click settings, then About).
If you’re using the 64 bit version, then you’ll see “64 bit” after the version number. If you’re using the 32 bit version, you’ll just see the version number with no indication about 32 bit or 64 bit.
In addition to better security, 64 bit Chrome is significantly faster: you’ll see a 15% increase in video rendering speeds, 25% improvement in loading times, and additional features like DirectWrite on Windows.
The only downside to 64 bit Chrome is that you might run into some compatibility issues – but they’re rare.
Microsoft Edge is also a 64 bit browser (provided you bought the 64 bit version of whatever Windows operating system you’re on).
Whether you’re running PC Cleaner Pro 2015 or some other software, running anti-malware software is an excellent way to give your browser an extra layer of protection.
PC security software works outside your browser. It can catch things that your browser might miss – like malicious executables in downloaded files.
Download your free trial of PC Cleaner Pro today!
Photos courtesy of HowToGeek.com