Google Chrome has grown to become one of the most popular and beloved browsers currently in use. With its integration of Google services, an address bar that doubles as a Google search bar, and a wide range of extensions and plugins that can enhance your experience, it is one of the best tools you have on your computer.
That doesn’t mean you can be relaxed about internet security while you are using it, however. There are still plenty of threats Google Chrome won’t protect you from. You need to remain vigilant, and you need to protect yourself.
Here are a few things that you might need to know about using Google Chrome:
You Need a VPN
One of the things about Google Chrome is the massive amount of personal information it contains and uses on a regular basis. If you were to use an unprotected public network, then this data (plus any else you send over the network) would be at risk, as hackers can easily intercept data over unprotected public networks. Try to imagine what would happen if someone else intercepted the details to your Google Chrome account.
It is for this reason that you need a Virtual Private Network (VPN), particularly while you are using Google Chrome. A VPN is a service that allows your computer (or smartphone) to connect to an outside server using an encrypted connection. Anyone looking in on a public network won’t be able to see anything you’re doing, and you also have all of the benefits of a masked IP address for maximum privacy.
To get the best security and other benefits, you will want to find the best available provider of VPN services so that you can maximize your enjoyment of Google Chrome without fear of lost data. Look for one that offers no slowdown of your connection, plenty of different servers, and a guarantee of your privacy.
The Browser Isn’t Magic
Regardless of what others may tell you, Google Chrome is still just a browser much like any other. It has a lot of wonderful features that make your online experience much smoother and more efficient, but you are still dealing with the same internet. That means you are still dealing with the same threats.
You need to make sure that you still are following the same safety guidelines that you have always followed. You still need to use strong passwords, not download anything you aren’t completely sure of, and not give your information to any untrustworthy websites. On your computer, you still need to use an internet security suite and check through every once in a while to make sure no files have been unknowingly added. Don’t let the hype of a great browser lure you into a false sense of security.
No One Else Should Use Your Computer
After using Google Chrome for a while, you come across something that you can consider both a convenience and an annoyance: The search bar will autocomplete with previous search inquiries and sites visited. It does this better than any other browser, and it does so in an instant. If someone else using your computer just types the wrong letter, then they can be rummaging through your search history, finding out things that you don’t want them to know.
Your information is well-integrated into the browser, and anyone who wants to can access quite a bit of it in a few minutes without even trying. If you give someone access to your computer, you might as well give them access to your closet as well. You don’t keep your financial information inside of your closet. Make sure no one else uses your computer while you are signed into Chrome. Otherwise, someone can just walk away with your information.
Plugins and Extensions Can’t Be Trusted
Like any browser, there are many plugins and extensions are advertised to “improve your experience.” That “improved experience” usually means having to deal with a pop-up ad or some other issue every five minutes, trying to persuade you to give the creator money or direct you somewhere. Very few exist to help merely the user.
You’d actually be lucky to get one of the plugins that only want to get legally your money. You need to be more worried about the Chrome plugins that are trying to steal your data for mining purposes or explicitly stealing your identity. While Google and the community do its best to stomp out the malware and the scams, it is impossible to get all of them.
This means you need to be on the lookout yourself. Try to avoid plugins that only have a couple of reviews (or none at all). More popular and established plugins and extensions are safe to use as they have been well-tested by the community. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful and disable any extensions that have developed exploits that haven’t been fixed. For this reason, you need to update them every once in a while. Above all, use common sense.
Thank you for reading, and I hope that you now know all that you need to when using one of the best of browsers out there. Stay vigilant and safe.
Editor’s Note: This post is written by Cassie Phillips and She is the contributor at SecureThoughts.