Internet Browser Security Recommendations

How secure is your Internet web browser?  If you were to accidentally click on a malicious link from a search engine or an email, would your browser (and computer) be vulnerable to an attack?

Your Internet browser - Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari, etc. - is one of the most important piece of software installed on your computer. Unfortunately, it’s also likely to pose the greatest risk to your privacy and the security of your computer and personal data.  Many web applications try to enhance your browsing experience by utilizing browser extensions, plugins or other types of functionality. The safest policy is to remove these extensions and disable any plugins or features that are no longer used unless you decide they are necessary.


What can you do? There are some simple steps to ensuring that your Internet browser is as safe and secure as it can be. These instructions are intended to be self-serve, but do not hesitate to contact the ITS Support Center at support@colby.edu or ext. 4222 if you need assistance at any point.

1.  Use a current, up-to-date Internet browser for daily Internet browsing, ITS currently recommends the use of Mozilla Firefox on all operating systems (Windows and Mac) because of its intelligent use of security. 

2.  Regularly check to make sure your browser and installed extensions are up to date. Do not assume that your computer will automatically download and install updates for itself. Regularly check the status of your browser and its extensions to are current.

  • Run a browser scan to check the state of your browser and its extensions and/or plugins. You may be asked to install a plugin if its supported by your computer, making for quick and easy scanning on a regular basis. This is recommended. We have verified that the plugin is safe despite showing permission warnings in certain browsers.
  • Review Scan Results and mae ke sure to review each detected browser type as well as ‘System Checks’ and ‘Apps’ by clicking on all the areas circled in red, as shown below

                   qualysscanresults

  • Out-of-date or vulnerable items will be marked with red. Each of these items represents a potential vulnerability risk. For each red item, do one of the following:
    • Remove or uninstall unneeded extensions or plugins. If you see items listed that you don’t recognize or want, remove it (there are simple instructions on doing this for Firefox, Safari, and Chrome browsers). If you later discover that you need it, you can always download and install a new version. 
    • Update all outdated extensions and plugins by following the provided links and instructions in the browser scan page. Be aware that some of these installers may attempt to install ‘add on’ software. It is strongly recommended that you do not install any add-ons, such as the ‘Ask toolbar’ or 'One Launch'
    • Ensure that all ‘System Checks’ and ‘Apps’ are up-to-date. If they are not, contact the ITS support center at support@colby.edu or ext. 4222. Note: College-owned Windows computers may ignore warnings about the Windows firewall settings.
    • Scan again after any plugin or software update, make sure to run another scan using the link above to ensure that the updates were successful.

 

3.  Practice safe browsing and be suspicious of URLs and links forwarded to you from anyone.  Always beware of unknown or unsolicited websites/URLs. Do not grant permission to or ‘accept’ anything unless you know that you asked for it. Heed browser warnings about suspicious pages, as they are often indicators of a website that will attempt to gain access to your computer’s data and succeed if your software is out-of-date. If you are not sure what to do when prompted with a warning, don’t continue, close the window or browser and contact the ITS Support Center at support@colby.edu or ext. 4222.


If you have questions about Internet browsers, extensions, plugins or computer security in general, please contact the ITS Support Center at support@colby.edu or ext. 4222.

 

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Article ID: 140021
Created
Mon 6/13/22 4:01 PM
Modified
Tue 5/28/24 2:26 PM

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