Online privacy, at times, seems to be a thing of the past. From identity theft to credit card fraud, it seems almost impossible to keep your information safe. Yet the Internet is one of the most convenient things to which a person can have access. From paying your bills and shopping to the online streaming of movies and music, it’s difficult to imagine the world without it. Short of cutting one’s self off, how easy is it to protect your information? Well, there are a few things that you can do in order to better protect yourself from malicious software and viruses. Security measures range from easier, everyday things, to even more secure situations for people who care more about security or have more sensitive business information they wish to keep safe. Even if you don’t do much that you consider unsecure online, it is always a good idea to be prepared. Most people don’t even know that they have malware on their PCs or how they got it. The quickest way to avoid malware is to have better browsing habits and security. With so many flash ads and scripts on every web page, it’s hard to know what is running. Firefox supports a number of add-ons, many of which can be very helpful. Two of the strongest are called Flashblock and NoScript. Most of the functionality of these extensions is available for any of the various browsers out there. Opera and Chrome both have extensions that do and are named similarly to Firefox’s, whereas newer versions of Internet Explorer have some of that functionality built in to the core of the program itself. Flashblock Flashblock does exactly what it sounds like: It automatically stops flash from playing. Flash is a great extension, but it has had numerous security issues in the past. On top of this, Flash ads can be written to be malicious intentionally. You can allow specific websites to auto play flash and even individually turn on ads, so it’s not much of a hassle, yet it can save you from a great deal of headache. NoScript NoScript takes the type of functionality that Flashblock has a step further. It keeps all manner of scripts from running in the background. Scripts are like mini programs running in the background of a webpage which run various functions. Most of the time, these are good things, though even the good ones can sometimes drag down the speed of your browsing if there is excessive scripting on the page. NoScript makes it so that you can control what does and does not run. In this respect, it is a little more complicated than Flashblock but it adds a huge degree of safety by avoiding bad scripts, unintended software installs, and general malware.
Both of these add-ons can protect your information and spare you a lot of the headache of malware, toolbars, and other frustrating software. They’re not guaranteed to take care of all of your woes, but prevention will stop a lot of the junk from cluttering up your PC. Pairing these measures with programs like Malwarebytes, Spybot Search & Destroy, and a good anti-virus program can make your life a lot easier and more secure.