The expansion of the information network and increased use of the medium – the Internet, has no doubt made our lives simpler. But while we Google and Bing our way into things and life in particular, we do spend a considerable amount of time dealing with stuff that we never asked for; the most obvious of them being web threats. These threats range from intellectual property theft, zero-day security vulnerability, spear-phishing to complex attacks.

Is there a comprehensive defense against these threats? What defines the integral means of combating such threats? As with all complex problems, the solution here is just as simple and easy to implement. So, read up!

  1. Get to know your browser better!

    It is fun and quite useful to spend some time dabbling with the security, privacy and content settings of the browser that you use. Acquaint yourself with common elements of a browser such as cookies, autocomplete feature, add-ons, content filters and pop-up blockers.

    You can check if your browser is blocking third-party cookies by figuring out if the ‘Accept third-party cookies’ option under ‘Cookies’ in your Privacy option is enabled. Try as far as possible to disable the autofill / autocomplete feature. This feature works by saving keystrokes. This data becomes a common target for malware trying to steal personal data and other identifiable information.

    Ever tried clicking the ‘Advanced’ tab under Internet options? You will find a ‘Phishing filter’. Turning it on will provide filters against malware and threats. Ensure that the pop-up block is on. This will prevent you from getting fooled by an ingeniously designed pop-up that promises to be the actual thing.

    Trust us, these settings are not riddles or jabberwockies to be wary of!

  2. Try restricting your web software to the minimum.

    Okay! So, variety is the spice of life but this should not necessarily translate to your web platforms and software. The more diverse the web apps, the more the scope for inviting trouble. Hackers wait for gaps and vulnerabilities in unpatched applications. It is always easy to stick to a single mainstream browser. Again, one PDF reader should be sufficient. This also applies to all the unnecessary plugins and media player add-ons and codec packs that your friend insisted are “must downloads!”

    Don’t forget to configure your browser to initiate a prompt before installing plugins, add-ons, ActiveX controls and toolbars.

  3. It is good to have auto-update turned on for frequently used apps.

    It seems like an onerous task but time invested in installing system patches and applying updates makes a whole lot of sense. Tons of commercially available system software kits have multiple vulnerability testers and actual exploit codes that search for loopholes in the software. So, the next time you decide to postpone that system patch update or think that it is a complete waste of time, think again.

    One simple way is to keep auto-updating turned on for apps that your PC breathes and lives on.

  4. Trouble maker – And you thought that you had the most difficult password ever!

    You decided not to think too hard about creating a password for your Gmail/Facebook account and decided on ‘password’, or may be your sweetheart’s name, or better still, your date of birth or may be your pet hamster’s name. No one is questioning the creativity or doubting the emotions behind immortalizing feelings here but honestly, passwords are there for a reason. Put a little thought and a wee bit of effort into creating a password. And we are not advising passwords that are written on a sticky note pasted to your PC screen!

  5. Invest in a good security solution.

    You may have the best antivirus software or Internet security suite protecting your PC, but when it comes to securing your PC from web-based threats it is very important to have protection that can stop your PC from visiting any malicious or compromised websites. Since the number of compromised websites is at an all-time high and thousands of new websites get compromised every minute, one should have a web security feature that is based in the cloud which has up-to-the-minute updates on newly compromised websites. A highly reliable and prompt cloud-based web security, just like the one implemented in Quick Heal, will automatically stop your browser (no matter which browser you use) from visiting malicious websites. These solutions come with a lot of built-in filters and will automatically categorize the messy categories like adult, gambling, etc., and restrict access accordingly. Such solutions will also help you in saving your Internet from being depleted or exploited. The threat exposure is considerably minimized.

    Top Antivirus software like Quick Heal have several in-built features such as AntiVirus, AntiSpyware, AntiMalware, AntiSpam, AntiPhishing, Parental Control, PC2Mobile, PCTuner, etc. Such AntiVirus software gives multi-layered protection for your PC along with added security for your mobile phones.

    A combination of good Internet security software, a little bit of playing around with existing preventive ways and not to forget, increasing your knowledge about such threats, goes a long way to secure your PC and your reputation.