Tuesday, September 13, 2011

5 Tips for Safer Browsing

Safe Browsing Online
Staying safe online is essential because many websites and services will ask you to part with personal details and sensitive information that fraudsters could exploit. Whether signing up for a social networking site or applying for loans, it is necessary to keep an eye on your security to avoid having your private data compromised.

Here are five great ways to ensure you can browse safely and can confidently enter information into websites without fearing that it will fall into the wrong hands.

The first piece of advice is to get some dedicated security software installed on your PC. Antivirus software packages have evolved significantly enough so that even free editions contain some basic web security. You should look for an antivirus package that will integrate with the web browser of your choice seamlessly so that you are protected whenever you head online.

Anti Virus Software
Provided you are using a common browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox, you will find that most reputable antivirus suites will be able to keep you safe. This security software will actively identify websites that are known to be illegitimate or unsavoury, preventing you from accidentally giving away information to an untrustworthy source. It will also prevent viruses and spyware infecting your PC, so that there is no third party eavesdropping on your browsing session and hovering up the information you enter onto legitimate websites to use for nefarious purposes without your knowledge.

The second tip for safe browsing is to never enter sensitive information when you are using a publicly accessible computer or are hooked up via a public Wi-Fi network. When browsing the web at home, you have direct control over who uses your PC and who can access your connection, but not when you are out and about. Consequently, when using a Wi-Fi network at a coffee shop or a PC in an internet cafe, it is inadvisable to apply for online loans or anything else that might require that you dish out financial data in an unsecured environment.

The third thing to bear in mind is that you should always update your web browser and operating system as soon as a new version is made available. Major security flaws are patched regularly, but if you do not keep your software up to date, you could be exposing yourself to exploitation. Updating a home PC or laptop is easy and should be done regularly, but if you are applying for online loans on a work PC or device, be aware that the sluggish nature of update rollouts on corporate systems can mean that you are using a much older browser or operating system, with all the associated risks.

The fourth tip for safer browsing is to avoid using websites that are recommended to you in unsolicited emails. Spam messages may contain promises of great interest rates and improbably good deals, but more often than not, they are little more than a means to get you to give up your information or infect your PC with spyware, so do not get duped by this common problem.

The final and perhaps the most important piece of advice is to trust your instincts, do your research and do not get into a situation that could cause you problems at a later date. This means sidestepping sites and services which look dodgy, doing a quick online search to see if there are any known issues with a provider and never giving away any private information unless you are totally comfortable with doing so.

The safest web browsing experience is easy to achieve if you have built-in security software, a secure connection, up to date programs, a knowledge of how to detect spam and the ability to know when to walk away from a site offering online loans.

Author: Article written by Sam at MoneySupermarket, the UK's number one comparison website for online loans and other financial products.

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