Category: Browser (Page 2 of 2)

Sync Your Browser Bookmarks

Whichever browser you choose, make sure it is syncing your bookmarks. This is useful for two reasons. The first is that if you are syncing to multiple devices, your browser will show you the same bookmarks, from computer to phone to tablet. Add or delete a bookmark, and that change hops to all of your devices.

But if you only have one computer, it’s still a good idea. Syncing your bookmarks means they are backed up to the cloud somewhere. So if something bad happens, you’ll have a good chance of getting them back, when you sync again on a new device or a reinstalled browser.

In Chrome, syncing happens when you sign in with your Google account. If you didn’t do that when you first installed Chrome, you can sign in at any time using the bubble icon to the upper-right. And you can check your syncing status if you click the 3-dots button and go to Settings.

With Firefox, it’s very similar. If you click the hamburger icon to the upper-right, one of the first options is for syncing/signing in to Firefox. But you may have to create a unique Firefox account before you can turn it on.

Microsoft Edge syncs through your Microsoft account. If you sign into your computer with one, then sync is probably already set up. But you can always check it, just like in Chrome: click the 3-dots button, then go to Settings.

Safari syncs its bookmarks through iCloud, so if you need to check on that, you would go into the System Preferences panel and then go to iCloud. If you’re properly signed in, there should be a few categories of what’s being backed up, one of which is Safari.

And with some browsers, the syncing doesn’t just duplicate your bookmarks on all devices. Some browsers also sync your saved passwords, extensions and other customizations. It can be really handy, if you’re the type to bounce between computers all day.

Bitdefender Trafficlight

Another thing that scammers exploit is peoples’ search results. When you search the internet for something, the bad guys are trying to predict what your’e looking for. If they can game the system well enough, they rise to the top of certain search results so that you’ll encounter their poisonous websites during your searches.

So how do you protect against this? An easy way is to install an extension in your browser that will filter or rate your search results. There are many free helper programs that you can set and forget for this purpose.

The easiest one that comes to mind is Bitdefender Trafficlight. After you add this to your browser, it will block most fraudulent websites as you search, AND it will put a ratings marker next to all of your search results. A green checkmark means it is a safe enough website to visit. But a yellow or red warning marker means you should avoid that item.

https://www.bitdefender.com/solutions/trafficlight.html

I like Bitdefender Trafficlight, because it works with all search engines and changes very little on your computer. But there are others like it out there, with similar protection. Norton Safe Search and DuckDuckGo also have browser extensions you can try out. Just understand that they will change your default search engine to theirs as you install them.

AdBlockPlus

Modern browsers usually let you add in extensions, to add abilities to the basic program. And the first and best extension I can recommend you get is an ad-blocker.

There are many ad-blocking extensions out there, but things work best if you install only one at a time. AdBlockPlus is freely available for almost every computer-based browser and for limited use on smartphones:

https://adblockplus.org/en/download

After you install AdBlockPlus, it’s important that you click the Settings link. In its Settings page, clear the checkbox for “Allow Acceptable Ads”, and also check the boxes for Blocking Additional Tracking.

This should suppress most ads on all the pages you visit. This will make your web-surfing more pleasant, but it also protects you, as some ads are actually malware-lures in disguise!

What’s the Safest Browser to Use?

I’ve always preferred Google Chrome, but nowadays, there’s a lot of secure browsers to choose from. Most browsers are now Chromium-based, meaning they’re running the same engine and code as Google Chrome. So broadly, you’re going to be just fine using Chrome, Edge, Vivaldi, Brave or Opera.

Mozilla Firefox is one browser that stands apart from the Chromium bunch. And it also has a good security track record, so when a customer is looking to avoid Google tech, I steer them to Firefox. When I think of my customer base, I can generalize that 2/3 are running Chrome, 1/6 are running Firefox and 1/6 are using Edge.

I’m not yet convinced that Safari is on par with these browsers, but Apple does continue to improve and tighten things up with their browser. For now, though, I do encourage Mac users to try either Chrome or Firefox as their primary browser, to keep safer.

Opera appears to be a great browser, but people keep reminding me that it got bought up by a Chinese search/security firm. Does that impact its privacy or safety? I can’t tell, I have to leave it up to the users to ponder.

And I urge everyone to stop using Internet Explorer. Microsoft has not updated that thing in years, and it is the least safe browser to use. I realize that some of you are forced to use it, as certain (out-of-date) government websites won’t work with modern browsers. In those rare cases, use Internet Explorer *only* for those websites, and immediately return to Chrome or Firefox for all other browsing.

Once you’re on a modern browser, security updates for your browser should come in automatically. An up-to-date browser is critical to keeping you safe on the internet. If ever your browser alerts you that it is out-of-date, treat that as a serious problem and address it ASAP!

The next component to safe web-browsing is using add-ons or extensions to improve your browser. More on that in a future post!

Google Chrome: www.google.com/chrome

Mozilla Firefox: www.getfirefox.com

the new Microsoft Edge browser (for Windows 7-10 only): www.microsoft.com/en-us/edge

Brave: www.brave.com

Opera: www.opera.com

Vivaldi: www.vivaldi.com

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