A lot of people are concerned that web security is difficult to do or understand. While it is nearly impossible to completely hide your online activities, it is not so difficult to add some basic protection. Some of the steps you can take are fairly simple and anyone can learn to do. The following are some simple steps you can take to improve browsing safety for you and your family.
1. Browser History
The first thing you can do regularly is to start deleting your browsing history. Most people do not realise that your browser is keeping track of your journey across the internet! A browser stores the websites you visit, files you download, searches you carry out. This is mostly done to make using the internet easier; by keeping a record of where you have been, your browser can predict where you are likely to go.
When you are online, there are different files which are stored on your computer:
- URL History
This is simply the history of every web page that someone has visited. This also includes any data pertaining to downloading files, images and videos.
- Temporary Files
Think of these as copies of items that you may have viewed, but not necessarily downloaded. Such as photos in your Facebook timeline, or the cute cat YouTube video you just watched. Temporary files allow you to explore the internet faster by saving these files on your computer. They take up room on your hard drive and can lead hackers to sites that you visit regularly.
As the name suggests this is a record of items that you have searched for. It can be helpful when it comes to auto filling fields on websites. This is very useful, but if you have been looking for a present for someone who also uses the computer, it could tip them off.
Depending upon your browser you can remove most of these items yourself. The specific process varies from browser to browser, but they all follow the same basic principle. In settings, look for an option that says “Clear Browser History” or “Clear Browsing Data”. Most browsers allow yo to specify what history you are deleting (cookies, search history, form fields, etc.). Just remember that nothing you erase or remove will be deleted 100%. Any technical expert will be able to recover your history if necessary.
2. Protect Your Files
This is another easy tip that will help protect anyone who uses your computer. Always password protect your important files and any services that you use online. This includes your password and user name to any banking sites, shopping baskets and services, and any websites that you might own.
This prevents any other family member or unwanted hacker from accessing your personal information. There is nothing worse than not protecting your PayPal information and one of your kids decide to go shopping online. Try explaining that to PayPal!
You can protect your information in various ways:
- Setting Login Access
This is really helpful if more than one person is going to use the same computer. Simply create user accounts for each person. You can then limit sites that they visit and information they can access on the computer.
- Password Generators
These are a great tool to use to protect your user names and password for any online sites that you use regularly. Most internet browsers will offer to remember your information for you. But, if you use an online one like Roboform your information is also stored offline, allowing you access from another computer if needed.
As you can see it does not take much to add a good layer of security to your home computer.