Secure Your Browser

To stay safe when browsing the web, there are a few security best practices you can implement.

  • Browser updates contain patches to repair identified security vulnerabilities. By updating your browser regularly, you can ensure that these patches are in place to protect you.
  • Cookies are small data files that websites send to your browser and can make using the web easier, such as storing your preferences. But cookies also allow companies to track your movements across the web.  These cookies are often unnecessary and provide free information to a hacker might gain access to your files.  To protect your privacy you can manually erase any stored data, or set your browser to automatically erase stored data every time you close your browser.
  • Browser plugins, such as ActiveX, Java, and Flash give hackers another way to attack your computer. These plugins generally do not update automatically, meaning that known security flaws can remain until you manually update the plugin.  You can protect against unsafe browser plugins by adjusting your settings to not run these plugins automatically.  Then, you should only run the plugin on a page if you are certain that the content is safe.

If you use Chrome, type “chrome://plugins/” into your search bar and press enter. If you want to disable them temporarily, just click “Disable.” If you receive messages on certain sites that you need to run these plug-ins, just follow the same instructions and press “Enable,” instead.

Firefox users should type “about:addons” into their browsers, then select “Plugins” at the left of the window. This will open a page that shows all of the plug-ins installed in Firefox. You can then choose whether you want to activate the plug-in always, never or after asking permission.

If you’re using Internet Explorer , click the Tools button, then select Manage add-ons. In Show, click All Add-ons, then select the particular add-on you want to turn off, hitting disable. Note that Microsoft isn’t updating Internet Explorer anymore, leaving you even more vulnerable to attacks.

Safari users should click Preferences from the Safari menu, click the Security tab, then click the Plug-in Settings button. You can then turn the plug-ins on or off.

Microsoft Edge users don’t have to worry about plug-ins, because they’re not even available on the browser.