Consider changing your web browser.
Because Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) comes installed on Microsoft Windows, most people use it. And because most people use it, IE is targeted most often by those with malicious intent.
Keep Your Web Browsers Up To Date
No matter what web browsers you use, it is important to keep them up to date. As security flaws are discovered, the web browser companies release updates to fix them.
Keeping Internet Explorer up to date is simple - automatic updates for Windows include updates for Internet Explorer.
Pop-ups are those small windows that pop open without you requesting them. Most often they are advertisements... and the extremely annoying. Most modern web browsers come configured to block pop-ups by default.
If you need to allow pop-ups from a particular site (like myportal.montana.edu), you can add it to the browsers exception list:
In Internet Explorer: Click Tools. Pop-up Blocker and Pop-up Blocker Settings. You can then enter the name of the site you want to allow pop-ups from.
In Firefox: Click Tools then Options, and on the Content screen click the Exceptions button and add the site you want to allow.
Enable Phishing Filters
Both Firefox and Internet Explorer now come with phishing filters. By default, the phishing filter in Firefox IS turned on, in Internet Explorer it is NOT turned on.
To turn on the phishing filter in Internet Explorer, Click Tools, Phishing Filter and select Turn on Automatic Website Checking...
When Firefox encounters a suspicious website a warning screen will come up tell you the site is either a "Reported Web Forgery!" or a "Reported Attack Site!"
Like Firefox, Internet Explorer also blocks you from attempting to visit a known phishing site, by displaying a red warning page. If a site is only a suspected phishing site, a yellow warning will be displayed.
Entering personal information on forms
Only enter personal information on a secure, trusted site. A secure site is one that displays the little closed padlock icon and an "https" instead of "http" at the beginning of the web site address (URL). Secure sites encrypt the information you type before sending it over the internet, preventing those with malicious intent from intercepting your sensitive information along the way.
Unfortunately, even the lock symbol can be faked. If your web browser is up-to-date, Firefox and Internet Explorer will both warn you if the security certificate for a site is suspect with a message like "There is a problem with this website's security certificate", and make you choose whether to continue to the site or leave.
Even if you follow all these guidelines, you have to accept that there is some level of risk. We hear about companies loosing customer's sensitive information all the time. Unfortunately, no one can ever be immune to this.
Saving Passwords and Form Information
Most web browsers will offer to save login and password information so that you don't have to type them in again next time you visit a site. While this is convenient, it is a huge security risk. You should never allow a web browser (or any other program) save passwords or personal information. If your computer gets hacked or infected with malware all that information will be exposed. Or if you should do this on a public computer, anyone else using that computer will have access to your information.
Browsers can be set so they won't retain this information.
In Firefox click on Tools, Options and then on Privacy. At the bottom of the Options window under Privacy Data, choose one of options to clear private data.
Then click on the Settings... button to set which private information will be cleared.
In Internet Explorer, click Tools, choose Internet Options and select the Content tab. Click the Settings button under AutoComplete. Uncheck the box that says Forms.
The default setting in Internet Explorer prevents you from viewing the most recent versions of the web pages you browse. This is because older versions are stored in your browser's cache to "help" make the page load faster. You can change this setting by clicking Tools then Internet Options and click the General tab. Click the Settings button under Browsing History and then under Check for newer versions of stored pages, select the first option, Every visit to the page.
You can also do what is referred to as a "hard refresh" to make sure you are seeing the most current version of a page. In Internet Explorer, hold down the Ctrl key and click the refresh button in your browser. In Firefox/Netscape, hold down the Shift key while clicking the refresh button in your browser.
Do you really need it?
Don't load non-essential programs off the Internet, especially things like toolbars or search bars, screensavers, or audio or video programs. These programs frequently install additional, malicious software ("malware") that causes problems and often requires a system rebuild.
Don't click on anything in a pop-up, except the X in the upper right corner to close it.
Clicking on any buttons/links in the window like "No, thank you" or "Close Window" often triggers an unwanted installation.
Never click on unsolicited links
Don't click on any links that you received in email, instant messages, Web forums or chat rooms - it might install malware.