Can visiting a webpage do any harm to you?
Visiting a page alone shouldn't be that big of a deal when you are only viewing it and your browser is up to date. Cyber criminals often use various techniques to infect websites with malicious code and trick users into doing certain activities designed to steal sensitive information or infect their devices, which can compromise their online security and their device performance.
Here are some of the ways visiting a webpage can harm you:
- Phishing Attacks
Phishing is a type of cyber-attack where attackers create fake websites designed to trick users into providing sensitive information such as login credentials, credit card numbers, or even cryptocurrency wallets. These fake websites are often made to look like legitimate websites, and users may unknowingly enter their information, thinking that they are on a genuine website.
- Drive-By Downloads
Drive-by downloads occur when malware is automatically downloaded to your computer when you visit a website. This can happen when a website contains malicious code that exploits vulnerabilities in your web browser or plugins. Drive-by downloads can be very dangerous as they can install malware on your computer without your knowledge or consent. Never open randomly downloaded file even if it has regular file extension as they can be masked to appear like legitimate files. These files could be anything from documents to images to executable files, and could contain dangerous malware that can harm your computer. Many popular YouTubers got their accounts hacked because of this.
- Adware and Spyware
Some websites may contain adware or spyware that can track your online activities or display unwanted advertisements on your computer. Adware can be annoying and slow down your computer, while spyware can collect personal information and send it to third parties without your knowledge.
- Push Notifications
When you visit certain websites, you may see a pop up asking if you want to receive updates from that site. These notifications can be useful, but most of the time you don’t need them. Less experienced users may approve these notifications without a second thought, not realizing the potential risks involved. Sometimes these notifications might not come from legitimate sources, and could be part of a scam, phishing attempt or even advertisement.
- Information Gathering/ Stalking.
There are websites out there that are specifically designed to collect information about visitors. This information can include your IP address, device information, and browser information. These sites can be used by people who are trying to dox you, or uncover your personal information with the intention of harassing, stalking.
To protect yourself from these risks, you should take some precautions when browsing the web:
• Use an up-to-date web browser and trusted antivirus software to help protect against malware and phishing attacks. Although, the Windows Security app from Microsoft is doing a great job.
• Be cautious of unknown websites and avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading files from them.
• Use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your online traffic and mask your IP address, making it harder for cyber criminals to track your online activities.
• If you download files from the internet, it's important to scan your computer for malware and other types of infections using your antivirus software.
• Keep your operating system and software up-to-date with the latest security patches and updates.
• Consider disabling browser permissions for notifications, location, camera, and other features altogether if you don't need them, which could save you a lot of time in the future, as every webpage you approve will be saved.
• Before using any online service, check its Trustpilot page reviews, which is a quick way to get a general idea about most websites.
By following these tips, you can help protect your computer and personal information from the potential harm that can be caused by visiting a webpage.