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Online Identity Theft And Your Browser
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Online Identity Theft And Your Browser

A web browser is in fact a piece of software used for sending, receiving and displaying information on the web. Most of us probably don’t think of it as software, we probably don’t think about it much at all. A browser is just something that we use for more or less everything that we do online.

Most browsers serve us very well indeed; they generally do what we want them to do without any problems. If you are using an outdated version of a browser, there could indeed be a problem, a big problem. That outdated version could have security flaws and that means that you are vulnerable to online identity theft.

It’s a merry go round.

When a security flaw is discovered the best brains are put to work to fix it, the end result being a sparkling new version of the browser that does not leave you, the user, open to the risk of your identity being stolen.

Unfortunately the story does not come to an end there.

The thwarted identity thieves then set to work to uncover any weakness in the new version, after all they have been making a tidy sum from the misuse of other peoples personal information, they are not going to give up just like that. It may take them some time to find a new flaw but when they do they will be sure to exploit it. And that means only one thing; the browser will need updating yet again.

You can no doubt now understand that using an older version of a browser puts you at an increased risk of online identity theft. Upgrading as soon as possible may seem a little inconvenient but it will reduce the chances of your personal information falling into the wrong hands.

There are other reasons why using the latest version of your browser is good for your online security. All the newer versions of the major browsers carry a blacklist of all known ‘phishing’ sites and malicious web addresses and will warn you if you try to visit them. These browsers also analyze any software and files that you attempt to download and warn you if there are any suspicions.

Updating your browser also updates the list of suspected websites.

There are yet more reasons to keep up to date that are not connected with preventing online identity theft but will improve your online experience. A modern browser may be faster, will display pages correctly as they were designed to be displayed and may also be enhanced with nifty new features.

Silent Updates do it all for you. At least one vendor has equipped the latest version of their browser with the ability to update itself automatically, and the others are set to follow suit shortly. It is termed a ‘silent’ update because it is performed in the background without the user having to close down and reopen the browser.

Your personal data can be obtained by identity thieves in many ways, both online and offline, exploiting the vulnerabilities of an outdated browser is just one of them. It is so simple to protect yourself from this kind of ID theft; all you have to do is ensure that the browser you are using is the latest version. Other kinds of identity theft prevention are a little more involved.

A recent study concluded that an astonishing 60% of us are conducting our online activities using an outdated browser. It might reassure you to check that you are not one of them.


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