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6 Safe Web Browsing Practices to Keep Your Information Secure at All Times

Information security is a team effort. For an organization’s information security measures to be completely effective, it requires the active participation of every employee.

An information security management system or ISMS is a systematic method of managing an organization’s sensitive data. Among other best practices, the ISMS policies define guidelines for Internet usage and browsing in offices.

However, we believe that following information security best practices is not limited to the work place alone. As active users of technology – mobile phones, laptops, home computers, tablets, e-readers, et. al., – it is important for us to follow the basic security principles and safeguard our information at all times.

Observing some of the practices described below, will go a long way towards keeping our information and devices safe.

1) Secure devices, anti-virus
Perhaps the first and most important guideline is to ensure that our personal devices are secure and run up-to-date software. Install effective anti-virus software to protect even your home computer against viruses and other threats.

2) Strong passwords
Ensure that all your devices and accounts are password-protected, and use strong passwords.

3) Use only safe networks
Try and conduct financial and other transactions in which you share confidential data, at home or over a secure network. Limit your use of public Wi-Fi, and disable Wi-Fi or Bluetooth when you are not using it.

4) Read Privacy Policy
Think about how you use the Web and apps on a daily basis. We share a lot of personal information and photographs online and via apps. It is very important to read and know the information we share, when we log in to a website or download an app. Read the Privacy Policy and/or Data Use Policy of apps you use or websites you frequent.

5) Beware of fraudulent calls
Never share confidential information over the phone or e-mail, however persuasive or genuine the caller might sound. When in doubt, contact your bank or service provider.

6) Private browsing
Another aspect of Web browsing, which you may or may not be aware of, is a technique called ‘behavioral targeting’, used by online publishers and advertisers. It involves predicting users’ preferences based on their online browsing and shopping behavior, to show them ads that they may be interested in. Websites collect data such as the pages users visit, amount of time spent on a page, links they clicked, and the information they searched for. This data is used to create a profile of every visitor. Based on this information, when a user returns to that website or visits any other website using the same browser, advertisers display ads that are relevant to that user’s browsing habits and interests.

If you are not comfortable with this tracking activity, you can take a few precautions. Clear your browsing history, cache and cookies from your web browser. Try and limit tracking by Web services you use regularly. Use private browsing or ‘Incognito’ mode in your web browser. If you do so, your browser will not save browsing history, cookies and site data.

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