2.1 Fix your browser
There are a couple of simple things you can do to improve your web browser’s security.
Cookies are small pieces of data that can be used to track your use of the web and some websites host cookies belonging to organisations you know nothing about – these are called ‘third party cookies’ and they’re no use to you whatsoever.
Find the appropriate sections for the web browsers you have installed from the selection below, and use the browser’s preferences section to locate the cookie preferences and fix them.
Box _unit9.2.1 Google Chrome
From the Chrome menu, make sure the Settings page is shown, then choose Show advanced settings… at the bottom of the page. In the Privacy section, click the Content Settings … button then choose ‘Block third-party cookies and site data.’ You might also want to block pop-up windows (which are annoying and can also be abused by attackers). Click Done.
Then look through the comprehensive list of privacy options, selecting any you wish to set – we recommend the ‘Enable phishing and malware protection’ and ‘Send a “Do Not Track” request with your browsing traffic’.
Box _unit9.2.2 Apple Safari
Go to the Safari menu, then Preferences, choose Privacy. In the Cookies and other website data section select the ‘From third parties and advertisers’ option. You might also want to select the ‘Ask websites not to track me’ option which restricts the ability of websites to follow your progress around the web.
There are some further useful settings in Safari’s Preferences – Security section. You should make sure all the security settings are turned on.
Finally, in the Preferences – General section, make sure the option to automatically open ‘safe’ files is turned off. Although Safari is very good at checking that files are safe to open, it is possible that a dangerous file could be get through. Turning off ‘safe’ files just means that you will have to open the file yourself. If you find a file you did not request, delete it just in case.
Box _unit9.2.3 Mozilla Firefox
From the Firefox menu choose Preferences … then Privacy. Before going any further, select the ‘Tell websites I do not want to be tracked’ option, then in the History section, choose ‘Use custom settings for history’ from the drop-down menu. Make sure the option ‘Accept third-party cookies’ is unselected.
You can also find useful settings in the Security section. Make sure the ‘Warn me when sites try to install add-ons’, ‘Block reported attack sites’ and ‘Block reported web forgeries’ are all selected. These will prevent unwanted software from being installed on your disk and help stop you visiting hijacked or dangerous websites.
Box _unit9.2.4 Microsoft Internet Explorer
Click the Tools button then choose Internet Options. Select the Privacy tab. Move the slider from side to side to customise the level of privacy you want (we’d recommend any of Medium, Medium High or High). At the same time select the ‘Turn on Pop-up Blocker’ option to stop annoying pop-up browser windows which are often used by advertisers.
Click OK when you are finished.
Box _unit9.2.5 Opera
From the Opera menu choose Preferences … , the General tab has an option to block pop-up windows. Choose ‘Block unwanted pop-ups’ if it is not already selected.
On the Advanced tab, choose Cookies from the left-hand menu and choose ‘Accept cookies only from the site I visit’.
Also on the Advanced tab, select Security from the left-hand menu and make sure the two options ‘Ask websites not to track me’ and ‘Enable Fraud and Malware Protection’ are enabled.
Click OK when you are finished.
Your browsers should now be much better protected!
Next, you will decide what to do about the risks to your digital information and share your resolutions with your fellow learners.