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A Web browser is your gateway to the Internet and all it has to offer. Unfortunately, while you’re surfing, hackers are constantly trying to get information and access systems for whatever reason. Sometimes it is for monetary gain, or to have a system they can log into for other hacking attempts, or even to prove to themselves they can do it. Hackers are always looking for flaws in your security namely your browser so they can snoop through your system; steal your identity, or worse.
Browser developers are constantly updating their software and patching vulnerabilities. It is recommended that you always surf with an up to date browser. Many have features that automatically download updates and patches. Enabling this functionality makes one less thing you have to worry about.
All popular operating systems come packaged with built in browsers. Internet explorer for Windows based systems and Safari for Mac users. However, these aren’t your only options.
There are several other browsers freely available on the web. Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox are probably the two most popular alternatives. If you look over the shoulder of more experienced computer users you are likely to see one of these browsers in use. The reasoning for using these browsers is as personal as the type of soft drink that person prefers. However, the most common reasoning is that those browsers are constantly updated and adhere to web browser standards more closely than the browsers offered by the big operating system developers. Many times, features are available on Firefox and Chrome many months before other options.
If you have always used the browser that came with your computer give one of the other options a try. They are time tested and in many cases preferred by more savvy computer users. At the very least, your friends may think of you as a savvy user when they see you using a non-factory browser.
If you have owned a computer within the last 20 years, you most likely have used Microsoft’s Internet Explorer at some point.
Over the years many serious bugs have plagued Internet Explorer. Which has deterred many users who wish to stay safe while browsing. Consumers have gone towards new options such as Google Chrome that now has a market share of about 43%, while Internet Explorer is crawling in around 11%.
It is no surprise to hear that Microsoft has decided to discontinue Internet Explorer. Which marks the end of that little blue “e” in your start menu. It has been confirmed that Internet Explorer will not be part of the new Windows 10 update.
This doesn’t mean Internet Explorer will stop working as your current browser, but it would be wise to check into other options. If you decide to go with a newer generation browser such as Google Chrome, it will walk you through importing all of your bookmarks, and other browser settings you made for Internet Explorer.
Microsoft has now launched a new browser known as “Microsoft Edge” that is available on the new Windows 10. It is a nice change of pass from the original “exploration” that Microsoft started on.
With new age features, and the well needed security settings “Microsoft Edge” should easily surpass its two decade old predecessor.
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1. Location Sharing Applications
Checking in at different locations may be a simple way to let your friends and family know how you’re doing, but they aren’t the only ones checking in on you. Criminals use location sharing services to gather information for potential victims. With a rough idea of where you live and access to Google Street view, criminals can begin to plan a break in.
Many applications have location sharing features that may communicate with other applications on your device, some having less security. A way to avoid any unwelcome guests into your privacy would be to go through your applications and fully understand the privacy and location settings. Many social media applications have a way for you to adjust these settings to your desired security level.
For example you can check your Facebook privacy settings to see who is able to see your post, and then adjust accordingly.
Being aware of which applications use your GPS automatically is a great way to avoid any security surprises. Not only can they leave you vulnerable to prying eyes, but they also have been know to drain battery life.
2. Hidden Media Data
Being able to share your media content with friends, and family is one of the greatest parts of social media. Unfortunately the wrong people may also be taking a glimpse at the content as well, and using that information to target you.
Every picture you upload online has many different pieces of information. Such as where the picture was taken, the time stamp of when, and on what device.
It is known as EXIF data. There are a few sites that help to remove this data from your upload automatically, such as Facebook. While many other sites do not. Any criminal who knows how to find this information can use it to your disadvantage.
Fortunately EXIF data is not something that cannot be removed.
It is still wise to remain cautious when making a post even if the EXIF data has been cleared. It is not very difficult for someone to find your location based on landmarks, street names, or personal information you may have posted.
3. Too Informative Posts
It is understandable to have the urge to alert the masses about you having an amazing time while on vacation. Yet it may not be the wisest idea to do this while it is happening in real time. Nothing ruins a good moment like an unwanted guest.
A better way of expressing yourself would be to wait until you are home safe and sound. You may even decide to be a little more private with some things than others. Sometimes it is best to keep those moments between you and the people who made them. Using private photo sharing applications like Flickr, or Google Photos would be a great way to make sure the memories are shared with those who appreciate them.
4. Reverse image search
When posting pictures to multiple sites you become vulnerable to reverse image searches. This type of search can show all of the sites that the image has been uploaded to.
How it works is if you post an image onto multiple sites, it creates a way for criminals to track it from site to site. All it takes is downloading that image and then putting it through a simple Google search to find all of the sites that it is posted to.
While doing this a criminal could find out your name and then use that information to do another search to then possibly find even more information.
Remaining cautious with where, and how you upload photos can help to prevent this type of intrusion.
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