Everyone knows that it’s important to consider security and safety whenever you’re browsing the Internet. But with constant news of viruses, hacks and other security breaches, what can you do to stay safe online? Justin Schuh from Google has described five simple pieces of advice that everyone should try and follow.
A Google engineer’s safe Internet tips
Justin Schuh knows a lot about Internet security best practices, as before Google hired him as the security engineer for the Chrome browser back in 2009, he had experience of working for IBM, the NSA, and the US Marine Corps.
Now as one of the lead tech managers for Chrome, he has to make sure the browser is secure from attackers. But he says there’s a lot of things the average person can do to stay safer online. Here are some of his top, easy tips:
Tip 1 – avoid using public computers
Avoid using public computers, and if you are using a public computer, assume that whatever information you access on it could be be public.
When you’re using on a public computer to access the Internet – like at a hotel or coffee shop – don’t check your bank statement or sign into any other sensitive accounts.
“It’s too big of a burden on the system maintainers to really keep those kinds of system safe, so it’s best to keep what you do on them to public research,” Schuh says.
Tip 2 – use separate passwords for different services
Memorising a dozens of passwords can feel like a big hassle, but having the same one for every account is needlessly dangerous.
“Password managers can really help with creating and remembering lots of strong passwords”, Schuch says.
Tip 3 – use two-factor authentication whenever possible
Two-step verification is a way for websites to confirm that you are who you say you are when you try to log in, usually through a code that gets texted to you.
“A lot of the drive-by attacks can be significantly mitigated with two-factor,” Schuch says.
Tip 4 – think twice before installing a new plug-in
Schuch says that while he has been at Google there has been an increase in malicious third-parties tricking users into downloading plug-ins or other executables. Users will download (sometimes despite warnings from their browsers), and then the tool will do something like reset all their preferences, monitor and log their keystrokes, or funnel their search requests to a third-party.
Really investigate a new plug-in before you install. An easy way to make sure it’s not sketchy is just by Googling its name and seeing what comes up.
“Chrome does a really good job of protecting you,” Scuch says. “We saw the problem of bad plug-ins several years ago, and we spent a lot of work trying to address that.”
Over the course of the next six months, he said, Google won’t offer any “un-sandboxed” plug-ins for Chrome. When a security team sandboxes something, it means they’ve actually tested out the untrusted code or programs. So, soon you won’t be able to download a plug-in for Chrome that hasn’t already been thoroughly checked.
Tip 5 – keep your browser up to date
Browser security teams work around the clock to protect users from risks. But all their hard work will go to waste if you’re using an old version of your internet browser.
Chrome pushes major new releases every six to eight weeks, with minor releases every two to three weeks, and Google will make your life easier by updating your browser automatically. However, if you don’t use Chrome, double check that you’re working with the latest version.
SOURCE: Business Insider