Many a time users forget that browsers are in fact just programs like a game or a photo editor, with the ability to connect us any local network or the World Wide Web. Simply because we may be visiting a secure site, or are browsing a secure location does not mean that we are automatically safe from the many threats there are online, as our browsers as well can fall prey to hackers and the like. In fact it is this misunderstanding which has led internet browsers to become one of the most popular routes through which users can be targeted.
Cookies are another interesting thing that you should be aware of. The cookies which are stored on your hard drive are in fact little packets of data that were sent from a specific website and contain information related to that website, the purpose is, that the next time your decide to visit the same web page the information from that page is already present on your computer and hence loading up the site is done much more rapidly. Cookies themselves are designed to hold information related to that website, however, people out there looking to do you harm can manipulate the cookie to store more than just information of that site itself. For example cookies that can track your online behavior and patterns. Another way that cookies can be rather dangerous is through an approach called packet sniffing, as the cookies are packets of data, hackers and others trying to steal information don’t have to hack your computer, rather they can intercept and sniff the information sent out from your computer in the little packets we call cookies, with software such as Firesheep. By making sure that you are running and storing safe cookies you can help protect yourself from packet sniffing and other such problems.
Another thing that can compromise your security is running an out of date browser version. The reason why browsers have newer versions is simply because there are always errors and bugs that the developers are always trying to uproot and correct, the newer version of your browser contains many security updates which will protect you from newer viruses, viruses which your old version can be infected with. Another good addition to an updated browser version is using an anti-virus which also scans your browser and protects you from online threats. This combination should provide you with a very good safety measure; however anti-spyware software to run with your browser is also not a bad addition. And all three working for you simultaneously should have you covered from most places that you may visit online.
The other routes through which your computer can be compromised are the plug-ins that run on your browser for example the flash player which is used to play videos. These are things that are built in to your browser and the best solution is to use only those which are necessary.
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