Do you want to browse the web securely and privately? Well, here’s the truth: it’s almost impossible to browse the internet privately, because of an increase in the number of apps and tracking. Your online activity is tracked by your internet service provider (ISP), websites, apps, social media sites, and more.
Whatever you do online, the sites you visit, and everything is tracked and your ISP and other snoopers can see what you are doing online. There are also plenty of websites with malware and viruses that can compromise the security of your devices.
Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself online in South Africa and browse the web securely. Here are some tips:
1. Use a VPN
Using a VPN is an effective way to securely access the browser in South Africa. A virtual private network keeps your internet traffic private by creating an encrypted VPN tunnel through which all your internet traffic flows. Here’s how the best VPN for South Africa can help you securely access the internet:
A VPN encrypts your data with 256-bit encryption that is used by military agencies for data protection. When the VPN is enabled, all your data passes through the encrypted tunnel. It also reroutes your data through a different server location. This way it seems the traffic is coming from another location.
Even if a hacker gets their hands on your data, they won’t be able to decrypt your data and it will not make any sense to them. This way a VPN allows you to securely browse the web, without compromising your security.
IP Address Masking
A VPN also masks your IP address. When you connect to a VPN server, it assigns you another IP address and masks your real IP address. This way no one can trace your online activity back to you. For example, if you are in South Africa and you connect to a US server, your IP address will be changed to America.
It will make it look like someone is trying to access websites from America. Also, since multiple users share an IP address, it becomes almost impossible to trace the browsing activity to a single person. So, with a VPN, you can safely access the web without worrying about your online privacy in any country.
2. Keep your browser updated
Make sure your browser is up to date because, with each update, companies offer security fixes and bugs that have been reported by users in the past. So, with each update, your browser security is revamped. Developers release frequent browser updates with improved security, advanced features, and more.
Hackers often target vulnerabilities in older browsers, that is why most websites have stopped supporting older versions. Make sure the plugins and browser extensions you are using are also updated.
3. Enable privacy settings in your browser
If you are using an updated version of a browser, you can change privacy settings and enable the ‘do not track option. This way you can opt-out of website cookies and trackers. However, keep in mind that most websites will still ask you regarding cookies when you visit. In such cases, you can simply decline.
If you are using an iOS device, its latest iOS update brings a lot of new privacy features. You can change Safari options like prevent cross-site tracking, block all cookies, and even get fraudulent website warnings as well.
For secure browsing, make it a habit of yours to regularly clear browser cookies and cache. This prevents websites and ads from tracking you around the web. Cookies collect the following kinds of information:
- Your name and password
- Your location (IP address)
- How many times do you visit a website?
- Your preferences such as preferred language, font size, browser, and more
All major browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, and others allow you to clear your browser cookies, cache, and history.
This is very important as there are cookies that stay on your device forever, called persistent cookies. Some are session cookies that only stay till the end of the session. Persistent cookies on the other hand stay on your device until removed.
5. Use an ad-blocker
Pop-up ads and banners have been rising in popularity, as today you will see websites cluttered with ads. The most annoying ones are pop-up ads that you have to wait for 5-10 seconds to close. Then there are video ads as well. Apart from being extremely annoying, ads pose online security threats as well because most come embedded with trackers.
Most ads have trackers embedded in them, these can track your online activities. Most ads also have malware as well, that can potentially harm your device. That is why it’s best to use an ad-blocker while browsing online. You can further strengthen your security with an antivirus as well.