Online Security Essentials – From Secure Browsing to Web Exploitations

October 27, 2015 | Views: 1666

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We live in a world where technology changes every day. Many new things are developed, and we use technology in various ways that make our life easier. Technology connects us and helps us, but also exposes our identity, privacy and confidential data, which can be a bad thing for us and our future.

In this short tutorial, I’ll explain online web security essentials that every standard user should know while browsing the internet. Then, we’ll discuss about how security experts might use your data in bad scenarios. I hope this short course will show you how careful you must be, especially when you’re in the online world.

In this scenario, let’s say that I’m a standard internet user and my name is John Conelly. I want to buy a cheap laptop PC from an online store. I open my browser (Google Chrome) and visit my default search engine (www.google.com). I search for “cheap laptop computers.” Many results show up and I click on one. But, I can’t know if the site I’ve chosen is safe and secure.

This is the list of things that I suggest checking:

  • Is that site trusted? Have you heard of it before? What are other clients thinking? Advice: If the site is trusted by more people, the site should contain proof of what clients think. You should check if the site is well organized and search for any indications that weaken the legitimacy of the site.
  • What data they ask you to complete the order? Advice: One of the strongest indicators is if the site asks you for more data than they need. In some scenarios, your data might be used and abused. You might get robbed on your credit card and many bad things can occur if you’re not careful. If you find a fake kind of page, just leave it and don’t enter any data in it.
  • What does your antivirus protection show? Advice: every user should have at least some antivirus protection on it’s device. There are good and free antiviruses on the market (Like Avast, Avira, AVG etc) that can protect you from online browsing. Another tool that I suggest is WOT (Web of Trust), which is a simple add-on to the modern browsers (Chrome, Firefox etc..). It indicates the security to the site before you visit it. WOT shows a colored symbol after each link (green means OK, yellow means suspicious, red means not safe, grey means that WOT doesn’t know the status).
    Adblock is another great tool which blocks the ads and filters your browsing experience. Privacy Badger is my third recommended add-on, which manages all web trackers and blocks them so the website that you’re visiting doesn’t know anything about you.
  • Do you use a VPN? Advice: If you want to make sure that your browsing habits aren’t traced at all, you should really think of using a legit VPN services. One of my favorite free VPN’s is “vpnbook.com” and I suggest you to try it. VPN is a network-based service that shares registered IP addresses with its clients, which are used in public browsing instead your real IP address. VPN usually logs your browsing addresses just for security precautions, but they hide you on the internet as long as you browse legal stuff. There are many ways to protect a user from online threats and that’s why you need to learn new ways on how to protect yourself. Use antiviruses, use tools that you trust, use VPN services, don’t share any confidential data and don’t respond to unknown messages that claim that you have inherited a fortune – because you didn’t.
  • Update your software regularly and maybe you’ll have a more-secured online experience. You should be aware that nothing can give you 100% protection, but you must do your best to be protected as much as possible

 

Now, let’s look at scenarios where your data can be used in bad ways by attackers.

One of the most known ways is a scam where an attackers makes a fake website. Let’s call it amaSon.com. The original site is amazon.com, but you have visited amason.com, which looks really similar to the original. You register and give all your credit card data including your pin. After awhile, YOU ARE ROBBED. You check your card and you have 0$.

Another known method is when the hacker sends you a message in which they claim that you’re a lottery winner, or you have inherited some fortune (the story is irrelevant). The relevant thing is that they will eventually tell you: please give me your credit card data so I can send the money to you. When you trust them and send the data, they usually take all your money instead sending you and abuse your account. They won’t leave a proof that your money it’s stolen at first, so the police may think that you’ve engaged in illegal activities, which sounds really bad for you. If you aren’t careful, you might just end up in jail even if you’re innocent (because of the lack of proof that your credit card has been abused). That’s why you must be careful. If something is suspicious to you, don’t go for it, your senses are usually leading you  on the right path.

 

Thank you for reading my tutorials, and expect more soon. I am Dragan Ilievski, a bachelor of Computer Science and IT freelancer in many areas.

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4 Comments
  1. Very informative read for majority of non IT web surfers….surely if surfers are educated enough about the safe web surfing practices, web will become a lot safer place to surf…

  2. This is a simple and great share Dream Coder. If you don’t mind i want to mention some standard tips that every internet user must know:
    – Don’t open any link/s or any email message/s from unknown sender or source.
    – Make sure you are using an Antivirus and it is updated.
    – At least use a Firewall beside your antivirus, i recommend Comodo Firewall.
    – Don’t run any file or exe files (windows users) unless you know what you are doing.

    That’s all

  3. Thank you for sharing DreamCoder, this is a great tutoral for beginners. You should also consider tossing in something along the lines of cookies in the addon section, there are some excellent cookie manager addons for both Chrome and Firefox.

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