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Top 15 Tips for Safe Internet Browsing in 2023

The internet is everywhere. From scanning a QR code so you can access a restaurant’s online menu to paying a parking meter with an app to checking your bank balance, just about everything you want to do can be done online.

It’s not just making our lives easier, though — it comes with risks of its own we’ve all heard about, such as the importance of strong passwords and the hazards of public Wi-Fi.

To get the most out of your internet experience, it’s important to prioritize your online safety and privacy. However, there’s so much information out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. In this article, we’ll share 15 tips for secure browsing to help you browse the internet with more peace of mind.

Online Safety Requires Careful Password Management

Everything has a password, which makes it easy to fall into the habit of using the same password for everything or using weak passwords that are easy to remember. Unfortunately, these shortcuts can make your accounts more vulnerable, costing you more time and effort in the long run. Follow these tips to improve your password security:

1. Use a strong password

Ideally, a strong password has at least 12 characters, with a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Do not use personal information, such as your birthdate, in your password. If you are having trouble thinking of strong passwords, you can use a password generator.

internet safety tips

2. Use a reliable password manager.

These helpful apps automatically generate extremely secure passwords for each of your accounts that are nearly impossible for others to guess. Since all of your passwords are stored in one place, you won’t need to memorize multiple passwords — instead, you can just memorize one primary password that gives you access to the rest.

There are a variety of password managers available, so you can find one that suits your needs. Be sure to read about and check reviews for the password manager you choose to make sure it is safe and reliable.

3. Enable Multifactor Authentication (MFA).

When this feature is enabled, you’ll be asked to use a secondary method to prove that it’s really you logging into your account. Most of the time, you’ll be asked to type in a code or click a link that has been sent to you via email, push notifications, phone call or text message. Alternatively, you may be asked to use a third-party authenticator app on your phone.

Using Multi-factor authentication means that even if your password is compromised, a threat actor would need to have access to a second form of authentication in order to access your account. If multi-factor authentication is available for an app or service, we recommend activating it for added security.

Protect Yourself Online by Browsing Safely

Even when you are not logging into a site with a password, browsing the web comes with risks. Taking the following steps to make your browsing habits safer can help protect you from a variety of risks.

4. Keep your internet browser updated.

Web browsers, such as Chrome, Safari and Firefox, need to be kept up-to-date as much as possible, since developers work continuously to discover new threats and find ways to block them. An out-of-date browser may have known vulnerabilities, making it more susceptible to malware.

browse safely

Most browsers update automatically, but you can check your browser to make sure it hasn’t missed an update by visiting the “settings” tab on your preferred secure browser.

5. Only visit secure websites.

Before entering your info into a website, make sure the URL has HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) as the URL prefix. In the past, websites used Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), which did not provide encryption. Do not enter your credit card information on online shopping sites which do not use HTTPS. You can tell if the website is using HTTP or HTTPS by looking at the prefix in the address bar on your browser.

6. Do not click suspicious links or download suspicious files.

While browsing, avoid downloading files from untrustworthy sources. If you want to download a file, make sure you are on the website you would expect to find the file on.

For example, if you want to download a PDF about a brand, look at the URL of the website you are on to make sure you are on the brand’s website. Cyber criminals sometimes use slight misspellings (such as “”) to gain your trust. Check the URL for misspellings which might indicate you are not on the correct website. Don’t click links in ads unless you are certain of the source of the ad.

Privacy Protection Is Essential To Protect Your Identify Online

Many people conflate privacy with security, but they are not entirely the same, especially when it comes to the World Wide Web. A good example is logging into a social media app — your password and multi-factor authentication maintain your data security.

However, your privacy and ad settings make sure your data is being used the way you would expect — this is data privacy. Data privacy is an important part of your online experience, so follow the steps below to ensure your privacy is protected.

how to browse safely

7. Check your privacy settings on apps, websites and browsers.

This can usually be found under “settings” then “privacy.” In this section, choose whether you want some of your data released to advertisers for targeted ads, change who can see your account information and activity, and more.

8. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for browsing.

This is especially important if you are choosing to use public Wi-Fi. Using a VPN creates a private “tunnel” for your online activity to travel through on the internet.

This is helpful if you are on a shared Wi-Fi network, such as in a dorm or doctor’s office, where threat actors may attempt to listen in on your browsing activity in order to find out passwords or credit card information.

9. Deny “cookies” or only accept necessary cookies.

Cookies play a number of roles on the web, from making your browsing experience easier to helping advertisers track your online activity. Most websites now ask you to accept cookies, and default to “accept all.”

It’s a good idea to deny cookies or only accept necessary cookies when possible. You can also clear your cookies and browsing history in the settings of your web browser to eliminate any tracking cookies you have picked up.

Keep Your Devices Secure Whenever Using the Internet

One of the most effective ways to stay safe on the internet is to keep the devices you use to surf the web as safe as possible. If that sounds daunting, don’t worry — there are a few simple things you can do to enhance your device security.

10. Use reputable antivirus software, and scan your device regularly.

Set your antivirus software to scan your computer on a regular basis in order to ensure you are catching any potential threats to the system.

If you are having trouble choosing a reputable antivirus software, check with your ISP to see if they offer antivirus or have any suggestions. EPB Fi-Speed Internet includes free access to McAfeeTM antivirus software, making it a great choice for EPB customers.

how to safely browse the internet

11. Keep your device’s operating system and any applications up-to-date.

It’s easy to click “update later” when you see a pop-up on the bottom of your screen, but those system updates are often patching known security threats.

Updating your device implements fixes for known software issues that many put you at risk. Application updates are much the same, so putting them off for too long can be detrimental.

Setting your apps and operating systems to update automatically can help keep your devices secure without too much inconvenience.

12. Be cautious with your connections.

Turn off Bluetooth when not in use. Turn off “discover my device” when connecting to shared Wi-Fi networks. And change your file-sharing settings so people you don’t know can’t share files to your phone or laptop.

Always Be Careful with How You Behave Online

Although there are quite a few device- and software-based steps that make using the internet safer, your behavior is an important factor in maintaining your privacy and security.

13. Do not post personal information on social media.

Information such as your birthdate, pets’ names, and street where you grew up are common information in social media surveys, but they’re also common security questions. Posting pictures of your work, home or school can also reveal more information than you had planned.

safely browse online

14. Learn to recognize and avoid phishing scams.

Phishing scams are getting more sophisticated, but there may be some tells. Phishing scams often invoke a sense of urgency, such as telling you to click within two hours to win a prize.

Phishing scams may look too good to be true: an example is receiving an email telling you that you have won a prize in a contest you don’t remember entering. Phishing scams may use incorrect grammar or have spelling errors, and the email address may look different than you expect. For example, a Netflix impersonator might come from or something similar.

15. Report and block suspicious content.

If you do receive a phishing email or smishing text (the text message equivalent of phishing), do not click on any links. Instead, mark the email or text as spam and block the sender.

Staying Safe While Browsing Is Important

As more and more of our daily tasks and interactions move online, the need for internet security becomes more important than ever. Although news of data leaks and hacks can make online security seem daunting, these 15 simple steps to improve your online safety provide an excellent starting point for you to begin improving your browsing habits and device maintenance.

However, it is important to remember that these 15 tips for online safety are only the beginning, and not the end, of safer internet use.

Keeping up-to-date on current risks, forms of cyberattacks and scams is an essential part of maintaining your online privacy and safety. Sites like the FCC’s Frauds, Scams, and Alerts page can help give you more information on what to look out for.

family browsing safely

For added protection, EPB Fiber Optics customers can subscribe to EPB Smart Net Plus and get whole-home warp-speed Wi-Fi with an added layer of advanced, real-time security.

As you power all your devices at once with equal upload and download speeds, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your network privacy and data is protected by built-in detection against malware, spam, phishing and other threats. Plus, if your devices become infected with a virus, EPB Tech ProsSM provide VIP around-the-clock technical support and virus removal at no extra charge. Learn more to see if EPB Smart Net Plus is right for you here.

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