The best way to protect yourself from the malicious programs (often called malware) hidden across the Internet, is to have the latest and greatest tools at your disposal. That includes your Web browser, the very software application you’re using right now to read this blog.
Now not all web browsers are created equally. Some are faster, some require less memory from your computer and some are safer to use online. And it’s in that last element where Google’s product, Google Chrome, shines.
Google just updated its Safe Browsing API (Application Programming Interface)—the element of its Chrome browser which checks and monitors websites for malicious activity—to include the latest malware threats and phishing attacks (a phishing attack, by the way, is an attack designed to trick you into giving up sensitive information). Basically, Google has updated their list of bad sites, and will alert you if you happen to come across a website infested with malicious code while cruising the Internet.
This is good news for users everywhere for a few reasons. First, Google’s API helps users detect potentially dangerous links, which could lead unwary victims to a malware infested website, before they click on them. Second, since Google Safe Browsing’s API is open, most other browsers, like Firefox, can use Google’s list of known bad sites to protect their users as well. This protection can also be extended to other applications—meaning Google’s protection extends beyond dedicated browsing and encompasses pretty much any application capable of navigating the web.
This is great news. By helping developers protect their users, Google is making the Internet a safer place to browse, shop and explore. And that’s critically important, especially during tax season when phishing attacks go into overdrive in an attempt to steal tax returns.
So, what can you do to protect yourself from online dangers, such as phishing sites? Quite a few things, actually. Let’s take a look:
- Read carefully. If you suspect you just opened a malicious email, or visited a bad website, don’t fret. Read carefully and look for signs of mischief. Keep an eye out for poor grammar. For email, watch for a conflicting or mismatched subject line relative to the body of an email. If something looks wrong, delete the email.
- Update your software. Any computer that connects to the Internet will have to be updated at some point. Internet-connected home devices, computers, smartphones—pretty much every digital device—will have vulnerabilities that need to be patched. When an update is offered, run it.
- Always use comprehensive security (and never disable it). Whenever an email or website says you need to disable your antivirus program in order to work, don’t do it. Disabling your security solution is a guaranteed way of compromising not only your computer, but also anything remotely linked to it—like your bank account, for example. Using a comprehensive security solution, like McAfee LiveSafe™ service can help protect your computer from malicious attachments and dangerous websites. Don’t surf the Internet without a security solution in place.