Tech Tuesday: Searching the Internet – Searching the Internet Safely

Part 4: Searching the Internet Safely

This is a big, tricky topic so we’ll focus on a handful of easy things you can do.

-Use a password manager. These programs allow you to store unique passwords for different websites and automatically fill out password fields.

Here is a review of the best password managers available (Wirecutter).

-Use an ad blocker to block pop-ups and a cookie blocker to stop websites from tracking your browsing.

This ad blocker works well (uBlock Origin)

This cookie blocker works well (Privacy Badger).

-Limit the number of extensions installed on your computer.

-When in doubt search for reviews. Add words like “review,” “scam,” “malware” into your search string after the name of the service. This can be a good way to see if anyone has had a negative interaction and posted about their experience.

-Click links carefully, especially if they look urgent. A flashing message stating “your computer is infected with malware, click here to scan your computer.” A click of the scan button will probably infect your computer with malware.

-Nothing is free. Be suspicious of free. Free services usually function by collecting and selling your data. Marketplaces exist to sell products to you. If you can’t figure out how a service is making money that’s a good reason to be suspicious. There isn’t such a thing as “free without risk.” If there aren’t any advertisements and the service doesn’t require payment to be useful the site is probably risky.

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