The Hitchhikers Guide to the Internet

February 5th, 2018 by admin

The internet is a pretty cool invention. We now have staggering power and potential at our fingertips. It’s a beautiful and eternal spectacle of cats dressed like people, and people dressed like cats. Memes about memes, thousand year old prophecies that were uploaded in 2009, entire web pages about ninjas and knitting in public, and the list goes on... There is a lot to get excited about, but there are some dangers that come from such an open platform. If you aren’t careful, you’ll be taken for a loop by some rogue or rascal. We look at some of the habits and tools that help you navigate the internet securely and efficiently.


The main aspects of internet security are malware, scams, and the combination of the two.  


There are two really solid ways to avoid getting screwed by malware. The first is having some malware protection, the second is not needing it because you aren’t downloading terabytes of pirated Spanish soap operas.  


If you are looking for some malware protection software, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you should know that there are two types of anti-malware software; malware scanners and malware firewalls. When it comes to malware scanners it’s important to note that not all of these scanners offer real-time protection. What does that mean? Let me give you a scenario: You downloaded and are watching episode 59 of La Reina del Sur, and you’re on the edge of your seat while the dangerous and vivacious Teresa sets a trap for the dastardly Teo. (The moment is crazy intense so you forget to run the scanner after downloading.) Just as Teo confronts Teresa about faking her death, you are interrupted by some timely ads for! With real-time protection, everything you download and every site you visit is being monitored to make sure it doesn’t have any kind of malware in the woodwork. Make sure you get some real-time protection, in addition to a thorough scanner to run at least once a week.  


Using the internet to its full potential has become much more user friendly/accessible in the past few years. You used to have to keep track of all the useful web apps by their address (or save them to your favorites) and visit them each time you wanted to use them. Now, most browsers have applications you can download and use on any of the pages you visit. One of my favorites is “Cently” which automatically scours the internet and applies coupons to any of the games I’m interested in or the new Taylor Swift album that I clearly purchased for a friend. Another great one is “Adblocker” (or “Youtuber Revenue Slayer” as I call it) which makes it so you don’t have to watch any ads on most platforms. Unfortunately that also means they don’t get paid by the advertisers for your view of the ad. The real point here is that you should be taking advantage of your browsers potential to run utility apps. There are apps for nearly anything you can think of! Just Google “top browser apps” or something similar, and you can find some great apps easily.  


Keeping your connection private isn’t something that appeals to everyone. There is definitely some logic to the idea that for the average user, nobody is likely to be peaking in on your internet usage. That being said, there are quite a lot of reasons to be concerned with privacy that go beyond keeping your profile hidden from prying eyes. If you are browsing the web with your IP Address (kind of like a phone number for the internet) hidden, it helps you not be easily targeted by certain network attacks. The best mix of simplicity and effectiveness for this kind of protection is to run a VPN, or Virtual Private Network. In the business world, VPNs are often set up for the whole office. You can connect to the company VPN from home to access to all of those tools remotely. Running a privacy VPN for your web browser is a similar concept, but instead of connecting to your office you are connecting to one of thousands of VPNs around the world that are being used for privacy. By proxying your IP through one of these other public IPs, there isn’t an easy way to tell where you are really connected from. And that keeps your connection private! If you’re interested in this kind of protection, you’ll want to find a privacy VPN or proxy VPN.   If you have any questions or comments, feel free to send us a message. Good luck and happy browsing!     -Kender Ostlund

Posted in: Protection, Security, Tech Tips, Productivity, Technology