Use an ad blocker. Blockers like AdBlock Plus are free and keep you from accidentally clicking on a pop-up that sends you down a rabbit hole and ends with $500 missing from your checking account. Pop-ups are a little old school at this point, but we’ve all been guilty of accidental clicks. Best to have an ad blocker running in your browser at all times.
Keep your anti-virus running. Never close your anti-virus software. I know, the update reminders are annoying, but there’s never a reason to close the software. Anti-virus software keeps your system protected in real time and needs to run to keep you safe! Also, update your software if you’re prompted. Viruses come and go each day, and if the index isn’t updated, you won’t know what’s going on until it’s too late.
Check your spelling. Facbook.net, tiwter.com…malicious companies buy misspelled domains on purpose, hoping that you took calligraphy instead of typing class in high school. Double-check your spelling and make sure the domain is correct before pressing Enter. If the login page looks different, be especially wary. Logging in to a misspelled website results in hours of frustration and lots of apologies to your social media friends for the spam notifications, new friend requests, and sunglass sale invitations.
Run browser updates. Firefox and Chrome don’t even ask if you want to update any more. New versions update in the background and complete when you reopen the browser. We’re heading toward update automation, but until then, let your computer check for updates when you shut down for the night (and DO shut down at least three times a week) and live with the slightly longer boot up in the morning.
This isn’t hard! Getting serious about browsing security has never been easier. Add an ad blocker, take a second look to be sure you’re on the correct website, don’t close your anti-virus software, and keep everything up to date.