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5 Secrets of Internet Browsers
Typos can cause big problems.
For example, typing “.cm” instead of “.com” or “Costoco.com” instead of “Costco.com” can take you to websites that look like the real thing, but aren’t. Sometimes, these sites are pornographic, feed your computer an endless stream of banner ads or make your computer appear to freeze up, displaying a message instructing you to call the bogus tech support number on the screen. Or fraudsters on the fake website persuade you to enter personal information in exchange for a massively discounted item (that never arrives, of course.)
Solutions: double-check the web addresses you type, bookmark your favorite websites and use a search engine instead of guessing web addresses.
Browsers allow websites to spy on you.
One study found that visiting cnn.com installs 22 trackers on your computer. Visiting Huffington Post installs 31. Most commercial websites behave in similar ways, recording your computer’s unique address, approximate information about where you’re located, technical information about your computer, the website you just came from, and even information about your social media accounts if you’re still logged into them.
But "safe mode" doesn't hide your tracks.
You might think using a web browser’s “safe” setting protects you from being tracked, but it doesn’t. Safe mode simply prevents a record of the sites you visit from being logged on your computer. Your internet service provider still has a record of your browsing.
Solution: if you want to remain anonymous when you visit websites, try using web browsers like DuckDuckGo or Epic on your home computer.
Clear your browser's cache before you shop.
You might save real money. Yes, you’ll have to enter your email address and password every time you want to check out on an e-commerce website. But Consumer Reports found that, sometimes if websites know who you are when you begin shopping online, you’ll pay more.
Solution: clear your browser's “cache” or “browsing data” within your browser's settings. Quit and re-launch your browser and log in to the e-commerce website after you’ve selected the items you want to buy.
Your browser allows bogus ads to appear.
There isn’t technology yet that prevents dangerous ads to display on websites like cnn.com, nytimes.com and thousands of others. This is a bigger problem than most of us realize because scammers use the same advertising platforms that real companies use.
Solution: Be skeptical of web ads no matter where they appear. If you click on an ad, double-check the web address by hovering your mouse over the link to view the web address. And if a message pops up on your screen warning of a technical issue with your computer, instructing you to call a toll-free number for help, simply quit and re-start your web browser. If you click on a pop up on a city computer, alert the Help Desk at 408-793-6900.
Is this all a little confusing?
Click on the image to download and print out a list of some common techie words and definitions.
Sources: NBC News, MacSales, ACM, fraud.org, Infostruction, WEWS NewsChannel 5, Gizmodo, Popular Science, BBC
Over the summer, there was an increase in emails that appear to come from Netflix, instructing readers to fix their payment information.
But users who click the link provide the bad guys with their Netflix password.
Drag the red slider bar from right to left on the image below. You'll see clues that this email is actually a scam.
Trust your instinct.
If an email doesn't look quite right
or a website asks for personal information,
stop and think before you click!
YOU are the most important link
keeping your employer and your family
safe from cyber fraud.
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