May 10, 2007

Top 5 browsing tips for safe online life.

"hey man, I was waiting for you in Yahoo"

"sorry, i forgot to login as I was occupied in MySpace"

"Why didn't you GTalk? or MSN"

"I was in Orkut and was watching a Youtube video that james had sent me in AOL"

This type of conversations would have been considered 'lunatic' some 7 or 8 years back. Today, things are totally different. If you don't know what MySpace or Youtube is, you are considered 'backward'. Internet has become the undisputed king of technology inventions.

As with any other inventions, internet is also bound to have its own share of evil. It is not a safer place if it is treated with caution. How to browse safely? This article lists out the top 5 browsing habits for safer web experience.

Top 5
Stop Cookies.

Cookies are nothing but a piece of information about you and your system, stored in your computer by the websites you visit. These cookies from most of the sites are not useful to us in anyway. But it can not be avoided when login is required in a site. So, allow cookies for site like Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, MySpace, Digg, etc. where you need to login. Block cookies from other sites that you casually browse.

Quick tip: Blocking cookies: Firefox [Tools - Options - Privacy] IE: [Tools - Delete browsing history]

Top 4
Be cautious with JavaScript and ActiveX

JavaScript and ActiveX are the main reason for the interactive nature of web. At the same time, these two little brothers can destroy and demolish your system in no time. ActiveX is almost eliminated. Only IE can run ActiveX scripts. So, IE users are requested to disable ActiveX scripting. As far as JavaScript is concerned, Almost 80% sites use it. Avoiding JavaScript is impractical in many cases. The solution is to have control over the script. You must decide whether to allow JavaScript from a particular site or not. Obviously, you can allow it to run when it comes from well known sites. You can control JavaScript in Firefox with the extension called NoScript. Use McAfee SiteAdvisor Extension for both FireFox and IE to know about a site.

Top 3
Control applications that access net

You must be aware that many applications in your system access internet with or without your knowledge. Actually, there is no real reason for these applications to access net. For example, a small free tetris game that you installed from a lesser known site may be accessing the internet without your knowledge. The worst case is, there may be invisible applications that may be accessing net to send information about you and your system. How to avoid this? You can have 100% control over which applications should access net and which should not by setting up your firewall correctly. This activity prevents most of the security threats. I personally use ZoneAlarm and McAfee firewalls for this purpose.

Top 2
Use Antivirus and Antispyware

This is a well know point in computer security. Using Antivirus and Antispyware products is a must, if you want a peaceful online life. Updating them regularly is another important thing. There are free as well as premium products available in the market. There are best free products that work on par with the paid ones. I recommend these:

AntiVirus: ZoneAlarm, McAfee, Bitdefender
Antispware: AdAware, Windows Defender.

Top 1
Don't visit bad sites.

Yes, I meant it. You may be surprised to see this as top ranking habit. But, this is a fact. To prevent your private information from stolen and to prevent your system from malware attack, it is advisable not to visit any bad site. What do we mean by 'bad' site here? Any site that tries to act as another popular site (this is called phishing) or any site that downloads scripts and executables without your permission is considered to be bad. Generally people visit these sites to / for :
  1. Download movies, softwares or music illegally.
  2. Get 'serial keys' or 'activation codes' illegally for licensed softwares.
  3. Pornography.
  4. Money making, Gambling, etc.
All the above mentioned areas of web is bundled with spywares and viruses. These are traps. Don't fall for it. I hope everybody will agree with me.

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