Maintaining one's safety and privacy while browsing the web is of paramount importance, especially now when security and privacy risks are at an all-time high. Previously, we discussed how unwanted ads and pop-ups are responsible for ruining your internet browsing experience with the help of browser extensions, and some of these browser extensions could be malicious, too. But it’s not only about ads and extensions, even merely visiting a website can expose you to security and privacy threat. We discuss five tips and tricks to ensure your safety and privacy while browsing the internet.
By default, Google Chrome much like any other web browser out there, remembers your browsing activity. But in case you don’t want that to happen, you can surf the internet in incognito mode.
If you are a desktop or laptop user
Open the Google Chrome web browser on your computer. Click more icon at the top right corner > New incognito mode. Google Chrome browser will open a separate window with the incognito icon inside the tab.
Keyboard shortcut to open an incognito window
Windows, Linux, or Chrome OS: Press Ctrl + Shift + n.
Mac: Press ⌘ + Shift + n.
If you are an Android user
Similar to the desktop experience, Android users need to tap the more icon at the top right corner and choose the option New Incognito Tab. However, if you are unable to take screenshots due to a message “Taking screenshots isn't allowed by the app or your organization,” open the webpage in a normal tab and try again.
If you are an iPhone or iPad user
iOS users can open the Chrome app > More > New Incognito Tab. If you want to check if you are in the incognito mode, tap Switch tabs option and look for the incognito icon. You can switch between incognito and regular tabs. Tap the option Switch tabs at the bottom and swipe left or right to switch between Incognito and regular tabs.
Why Incognito mode
While browsing in incognito mode, Google Chrome doesn’t store the user’s browsing history, cookies, website data and information entered in forms. However, all their downloaded files and bookmarks remain intact. Browsing history and activity is kept hidden only at the user’s end.
You can safeguard your browsing experience using web services. For example, Google Chrome automatically offers completions for search terms and website addressed you type in Chrome’s address bar and most of these web services are turned on by default. You can customise your privacy settings if you want to turn it off.
How to configure your privacy settings
Step 1: Go to Google Chrome > More > Settings.
Step 2:Click the option ‘Advanced’ at the bottom.
Step 3: Privacy and Security > Content settings.
Under “Privacy and security,” there are several privacy settings to choose from. But we are only going to talk about those that are essential when it comes to maintaining your security and privacy while using Google Chrome.
Turning on safe browsing helps users protect themselves and their device from dangerous websites. When turned on, users get an instant alert whenever a website you are visiting is deemed harmful by Google Chrome.
The browser always checks the website you want to visit against a list of websites stored on your computer that are considered bad. If Chrome finds a match, it sends a partial copy of the address to Google to find out whether it’s a harmful website.
Send a "Do Not Track" request with your browsing traffic
You can prevent websites from collecting and using your browsing data. All you need to do is include a "Do Not Track" request with your browsing traffic. In spite of this, many websites still have this tendency to collect and use your browsing data to “improve security, provide content, services, ads and recommendations on their websites, and generate reporting statistics.”
If you want to check whether a website is safe to visit, all you have to do is check for the website’s security info. Google Chrome does the job of alerting users if its connection to a website if not safe or private. The website’s security status can be found towards the left of the web URL. It provides users with a fair idea if their connection is secure or not. We discuss different security symbols and what do they mean:
Secure status is denoted by a lock symbol. It means the information you send or retrieve from the site is private. Even if the status is secure, keep a tab of the authenticity and genuinity of the web address.
Info or Note secure
It means the website is not using a private connection. Chrome also warns users that someone might be able to see or change the information they send or retrieve through the website. Some websites let users visit a more secure version of the website. All users need to do is replace http:// with https:// before the web address in the address bar.
Not secure or Dangerous
Google Chrome warns users against using websites that are not secure. However, users shall proceed with caution when it comes to websites that are not secure. If the website is deemed ‘Dangerous’ by Google Chrome, users shall see a full-page red warning screen. Meaning the website has been flagged as unsafe by ‘Safe Browsing.’
What is a security certificate?
When a website uses HTTPS (connection security) protocol, the server relies upon a certificate to verify the website's identity to Google Chrome or any browser for that matter. Google Chrome browser requires websites to use certificates from a trusted organisation to ensure your safety while browsing websites on the internet.
As we explained in our previous story, there are several ways to deal with unwanted ads and pop-ups while using Google Chrome. You can get rid of Chrome extensions that may be causing these ads. You can also try resetting your browser settings or check for permissions
What is Site Isolation feature all about, you may ask? Well, It’s a security feature in Chrome browser that offers an added layer of protection against some types of security vulnerabilities. Site isolation feature “makes it harder for untrustworthy websites to access or steal information from your accounts on other websites.”
How to turn on site isolation
Step 1: Open Google Chrome on your desktop or laptop.
Step 2: Enter chrome://flags/#enable-site-per-process in the address bar and hit ‘Enter.’
Step 3: Click ‘Enable’ next to ‘Strict site isolation.’
Step 4: Click the option ‘Reluanch now.’