Safer Web Browsing

Posted by on May 4, 2010 in Blog | 0 comments


The Dangers of Web SurfingWant to get rid of unnecessary (and annoying) advertisements while you browse? It’s really quite simple. It’s something I did a long time ago and was so used to surfing and not seeing ads that I forgot they were there.

Recently someone mentioned to me how they were browsing a certain website and they saw some questionable ad on there (online dating or something like it). I looked at the same site on my computer and saw no ads at all. Then I realized that I was using Firefox for a browser and they probably had Internet Explorer (IE). I have recently explained how to switch to several people so I thought posting an article here would be helpful for others who have the same question (feel free to retweet or share this on Facebook). Read on for some details or click here to jump down the page right to the how-to.

Why Do This

First, you don’t have to be an IT wiz to do this. Anybody can do this and many people are. Internet Explorer usage is fallen to an all-time low (about 50%-60% of market share depending on who you listen to) which means now is a good time to switch.

Second, if you can eliminate ads you eliminate temptation to click a link that would take you to a website with potentially harmful data. For example, the two biggest causes of computer viruses and malware/spyware are online video games (which are used as bait —details here) and downloads (Mp3s, song lyrics, “free” game downloads, “free” screen savers, etc.) — and usually these two go hand in hand. Spyware preys on the surfing behavior of children, especially teens. We’ll cover some additional internet safety measures in future posts (like internet filters and spyware programs) but for now lets just focus on the ads.

Switch Browsers

There are several good alternatives to IE but I’ll focus on the one that I prefer. Switching to Firefox (reasons to switch to Firefox here):

  1. Download Firefox here [mozilla.com]. Save the .exe file, install it, then run the program.
  2. If you are the only one that uses your computer go ahead and check ‘Yes’ when if asks if you would like to make this the default browser. If your family uses the computer or you are not sure leave unchecked.
  3. Once Firefox is installed, get the Ad Blocker Plus extension. Click the big green button that says ‘Add to Firefox’. When the pop up box is ready click the install button.
  4. Restart Firefox if you are not prompted to. Upon restart it should display a list of Filters to subscribe to. Choose the one that says “EasyList + EasyElement (USA)” (should be first option).
  5. That should take care of it. The filter will periodically update itself so that it stays current with all the different ad lists, etc. Now, go ahead and navigate to your favorite sites and see if there is a difference. You should see nothing where the ads used to be.
  6. There’s a lot more extensions to add so feel free to look around and make it your own

That’s about it. If you have questions let me know or leave a comment.

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