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Why Secure Your Web Browser?

A secure web browser means safer Internet surfing, but too few people take the time to configure their browsers securely. They automatically assume that the browser that came with their operating system is set up in a secure default configuration. Often this isn't the case, which means your computer is susceptible to serious computer problems. Serious problems could be an intruder using the browser to take control of your computer or spyware being installed on your computer without your knowledge.

How the Security Threat Can Get Worse

Some technical studies indicate there are a few factors that increase the vulnerability of web browsers. One of the biggest factors is the consumer's desire for a more efficient, more functional web browser. While manufacturer's often comply with the needs of their consumers, the problem with creating a more functional browser is that security is decreased. And many users are unwilling to disable some of this functionality to secure their browsers. Also, security vulnerabilities change and new ones can be discovered after the browser was installed on your unit by the computer manufacturer, Internet Service Provider, retail store or operating system maker.

An already vulnerable browser can be made even less secure if systems and software packages are bundled. Computers are also put at even more risk on of an intruder attack when users enable certain browser features to download even a legitimate program.

Sometimes web page URLs can be disguised and you, the surfer, can be directed to a site you had no intention of visiting. The site then downloads spyware or other malware to your computer. This can be made worse by a user's tendency to click any link without thought of potential risks.

Cookies

These are files that are placed on your computer and they store data for specific web sites. They're used to uniquely identify visitor of a site and can be used by an attacker to gain unauthorized access to a site and sometimes your computer through that cookie. Session cookies pose a lower risk because they're cleared when the browser is closed. Persistent cookies stay on your computer longer until their expiration date comes or you delete them from your browser cache.

Unintentional Cross Domain Use

The most common web browsers are designed to prevent the script of one domain from accessing the information on another website. But these security features need to be set up and not disabled. If it's possible for script from one domain to be read by another, this can increase the chance of an attacker being able to access your computer and network system through a vulnerable browser.

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Identity theft comes in many forms.

A person\92s identity can be 'borrowed' for the purpose of creating fictional credit cards or a person\92s entire identity can be usurped to the point where they can have difficulty proving that they really are who they claim to be.

Up to 18% of identity theft victims take as long as four years to realize that their identity has been stolen.

There are many ways to protect your personal identity and many steps you can take to prevent your identity from being stolen:

*Never give out unnecessary personal information
*Never provide bank details or social security numbers over the Internet
*Always remain aware of who is standing behind you when you type in your personal credit codes at ATM machines and at supermarket checkout swipe machines.