Mastering Secure Browsing: Safeguarding Your Online Experience in the Era of Internet Security

Mastering Secure Browsing: Safeguarding Your Online Experience in the Era of Internet Security

Every time we write a blog on cyber-security, we remind our readers that online threats are increasing in direct proportion to the scope of IT in businesses today. You may wonder why we do that! We have dug up a few reports from the last year and we would like to share these alarming figures.

The National Crime Agency ( claims that frauds are “largely” underreported and that only 13% of the victims report their losses to the authorities. The National Fraud Investigation Bureau says that a staggering 80% (four-fifths) of these are cyber-enabled. An article in mentions the names of some mighty British companies who have recently faced ransom demands from international cyber terrorists. Additionally,

  • The well-reputed publication ‘The Guardian (UK)’ fell prey to ransomware (on 20 December 2022), had to disconnect their internal systems and ask their staff to work from home.
  • Around the same time, the Belfast distribution centre of the nation’s Critical National Infrastructure – ‘The Royal Mail’ had a break-down due to the Emotet malware lodged into their servers.
  • A quick peep into the UK Electoral Commission data breach in August 2023 will tell you how much personal data leaked out of their systems.

The security team at the tech giant Microsoft faced a threat as recent as January 2024. While they assure patrons that the Microsoft-hosted customer-facing systems have not been compromised, there is an investigation on whether sensitive information from the emails of several senior employees had been extracted or not (

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These are indeed dangerous times that we live in! Now, let’s keep the reported numbers aside, and imagine the magnitude of losses incurred due to the crimes that are not reported. In the wake of the Corona pandemic, when the tiniest of businesses were moving their marketing and selling transactions online, hackers were widening their nets! With none to basic computer or IT knowledge, criminal masterminds from the third-world countries were matching steps with the top high-tech coders and hackers of the world. Some of the ideas were as simple as – tiny unnoticeable or too-small-to-argue amounts scammed from a really large number of people.

The creativity of these scams has escalated so much in the last few years that the importance of browsing, yes just browsing nothing other than secure sites cannot be overstated. Therefore, along with conscious password settings, it is vital for people to also understand the basic risks and the terms associated with cyber threats. At Portman Tech we are happy to provide tips and tools to safeguard your online privacy, discuss the best practices for internet security, compare the features of leading internet security software, and help you choose the right internet security solution for your needs.

Understanding the Risks: Malware and Ransomware

Every connection to the internet, exposes your systems to a huge array of risks, malware and ransomware being the most common. Malware refers to malicious software that can enter your computer or mobile device without your knowledge and wreak havoc on your system. The most common way of installing malware in your systems would be through emails that have virus infected attachments.

Additionally, when you surf through insecure sites (http://), download free apps or programs, install fake or ‘cracked versions’ of software, it is possible for scamsters to lodge malware into your system unnoticed.  Ransomware is when a certain type of malware has thus been installed into your system, and is blocking your access to or threatening to corrupt your files, until and unless you pay a ransom.

To protect yourself from these threats, it is essential to have strong malware and ransomware protection in place. Portman Tech will always insist that you invest in a reputable internet security solution. This is the first step towards safeguarding your online experience. These anti-virus software programs will use advanced algorithms to detect suspicious & malicious software on your devices and suggest you to remove the same. In fact, an anti-virus software will continuously monitor your system for any signs of malware or ransomware.

Another advantage is the real-time scanning that is available when you are accessing a particular website and when you plan to download or install a certain app or program. There is a feature called web filtering; this automatically blocks access to suspicious or malicious websites, and also scans all emails received to try and prevent phishing attacks. Adhering to such internet security protocols, be assured that you have protected your devices and yourself, and now you can browse the internet with peace of mind.

Protecting Your Online Privacy: Tips and Tools

At Portman Tech, we believe that proactive measures are the best way to deal with malware and ransomware. Here are some pointers that are “The Bible” of internet security and online privacy:

  1. Virtual Private Network (VPN): A VPN hides your IP address by acting as an intermediary between you and the online connection. The technical term used here is ‘Masking your IP address’, which will make it virtually impossible for anyone to intercept your personal information, location and other sensitive data. This is essential especially while using public Wi-fi networks when you want your online activities to remain anonymous.
  2. Activate/enable ‘Two-factor Authentication’ (2FA): The process is to add two specific or distinct forms of identification to access your devices, or your accounts/files, etc. When you enter your pre-set password, a 4-6 digit numeric/alphanumeric code sent to your email or to your mobile cell phone. Only when you type (in some places you cannot even copy/paste) this code into the specified box, you will be able to go ahead. The risk of unauthorized access can be reduced significantly with such a system.
  3. Updating your software regularly: When an organisation or company updates its software, there are possibilities that protection from latest security threats have been incorporated within the same. These are called ‘security patches’, which may be able to not just protect from current or probable future malware, but also fix current vulnerabilities in your operating system and applications. One sure-shot way to prevent suspicious activities is to upgrade your systems through authorised updates.
  4. Be Alert & Conscious of your actions: Phishing is a Social Engineering Attack, which coaxes (read fools) us into serving our personal information on a platter to internet pirates. Tempting us with jackpots that we never entered in or subscribed to, attracting us with freebies or unbelievable offers, over-the-top marketing, lucrative returns without hard-work, etc always have an evil ulterior motive. Be sure of the websites you access (https:// only) and look out for those inheritance emails. Remember, when the news is too good to believe, don’t believe!
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While we update ourselves and safe-guard our systems, be sure that the criminal geniuses are also working day-n-night to break into our fire-walls and decode our codes. When you relax or get distracted with your actual profession, they will catch up, and so we recommend that you stay on your toes, or recruit professional bodyguards like Portman Tech to monitor unscrupulous activities in your systems.

Safeguarding Your Data on Public Wi-Fi Networks

Everyone likes complimentary services and we expect the authorities to provide intelligent and advanced infrastructure around us. With the modern smart-cities offering free Wi-Fi zones, it becomes very easy to stay connected while on the go.

Unfortunately, such public Wi-fi areas offer open access due to their unsecured nature. Most of the times, you will not need any form of authentication to log in and hence this could pose significant risks to your data security. Hackers can easily intercept your internet traffic on public Wi-Fi and gain access to your sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card details.

Some of the best practices that you should follow to try and protect your data on public Wi-Fi networks are listed below:

  1. Always use a VPN – Yes, we are repeating ourselves! A VPN will encrypt your internet connection. This It will act as a barricade when someone tries to back-track into your system and access your data even on public Wi-fi networks. Imagine a door with multiple locks; this will definitely discourage robbers from breaking in!
  2. Disable File-sharing feature – When you are connected to open Wi-fi networks, do not let anyone access your files by simply turning off the ‘File-sharing’ feature.
  3. Switch on your Scam-Alert mode: Always keep an eye out for spelling errors, special characters, etc while clicking on regularly used common website links. This is especially while using a public Wi-fi network. Familiar looking Wi-fi networks or website links will pop up in front of you with logos identical to the original ones; and you will be tricked onto clicking on ‘Amazone’ instead of ‘Amazon’.
  4. Keep your private data private: Make a habit of accessing sensitive personal information only via secure & private Wi-fi networks and not in the public ones. Avoid filling personal information into forms etc when on an open Wi-fi network.

A frustrated unsuccessful scamster will try harder to gain access, use ‘trojans’ and various other tricks to gather information that they can use against you or to further access your finances. Let’s keep them working hard!

Top-notch Internet Security practices

While we keep the above ideas in our minds, lets engrave a few points in our hearts as well:

  1. Usage of robust & unique Passwords – Complex, multi-character and random passwords are a sure-shot way to keep the sinister minds from cracking into your personal accounts. As an added measure, try and use a password manager to store and generate your password securely every time you log in.
  2. Back your Data up on a regular basis – At regular intervals, ensure that you copy your important files in to separate drives. Whether your hardware gets corrupt or you face a cyber-attack, a cloud-based storage system or external drives will give you that peace-of-mind that you are looking for. Simply reset your factory settings and you are as good as new!
  3. Be cautious when you click on Links or download Files – Always be vigilant and exercise discretion when you download apps or files. Do this only from reputable, high-rated websites and verify their authenticity before clicking on links.
  4. Keep track of Frauds and update Yourself – Check what’s the buzz around you. Potential phishing attempts or social engineering attacks are successful with the uninformed, and it is unwise to not pay attention to your local news. Recognize and avoid unknown yet attractive offers, get into huddles with your service provider consistently, trust your instincts when someone is pushing you towards a dark alley.

Sharing such best practices with colleagues, friends and maybe even your family will significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to cyber threats.

The Top Internet Security Solutions in the UK

The market offers several internet security software solutions today. If you are a company like Portman Tech, in the heart of London city, you will have easy access to multiple services. However, it is necessary to give this a little more thought at the beginning, and to eventually make an informed decision that will save you big time in the future. A few of the top internet security solutions that are available in the UK are listed below:

  1. Sophos Security – One of the top-most and highly rated internet security programs, Sophos provides Automated Threat Response and Synchronized Security that will protect against malware, ransomware, and other cyber threats before these can cause serious issues. While they offer SD-WAN capabilities along with Cloud management & reporting features, real-time scanning, web filtering, and advanced firewall protection are some of its top-selling attributes, along with password manager and secure VPN options.
  2. Bitdefender Total Security – Similar to Norton, Bitdefender also offers multiple features to protect your business from malware and ransomware. Together with a secure VPN and password manager, Bitdefender Total Security includes web-filtering, anti-phishing and anti-fraud features.
  3. Kaspersky Internet Security – Kaspersky Internet Security provides advanced protection against malware, ransomware, and other cyber threats. It offers real-time scanning, web filtering, and anti-phishing features. Kaspersky Internet Security also includes a password manager and secure VPN.
  4. McAfee Total Protection – For several years, McAfee was the unanimous choice for safeguarding systems and data from online threats. Their features are similar to the above, where real-time scanning, web-filtering and advanced fire-wall protection would handle malware, ransomware and other cyber threats. McAfee also proves secure VPN and password manager.
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These are some of the international brands available in the UK for internet security. Our experts at Portman tech consider factors such as cost, features, ease of use, and customer reviews while suggesting security to our partners.

Choosing the Right Internet Security Solution for Your Needs

A tiny café at the corner of the street, a stand-alone departmental store or a chain of stores in a mall, even the real estate big guns or day-to-day service organisations require the internet to fire up their businesses. Whether you are a critical segment (like hospitals), educational institutions, complex law firms, or even charitable NGOs, connecting to the internet and managing multiple transactions is essential in every day of your life. Just like any other crucial decision of your business, choosing the right technical partner to shield your business from criminals will also require some effort. Consider the following factors:

  1. Features – Different internet security solutions will offer different combinations of features. The basic that anyone would need are protection from malware and ransomware, real-time scanning, web-filtering, password manager and secure VPN.
  2. Compatibility – Technical compatibility with your existing systems (Windows, macOS, Android, or iOS) is something that is usually overlooked and companies end up spending a lot of money in upgrading their systems eventually. Your IT partner should be able to determine whether the current systems are good enough, and what basic online protection you would need for your specific type of business. Remember the small café at the corner, the amounts they deal in would be easily handled via secured payment gateways, and heavy investments could be avoided.
  3. Ease of use – Let’s accept that not everyone today is tech-savvy, and for any mundane query, it would be uneconomical to hold up the entire business and wait for the technical team to show up. It rather makes sense to invest in simple and user-friendly security systems that everyone can navigate after installation and configuration.
  4. Customer support – When things go southwards, it is very important to have the right back up. We always hope for services that provide stable and trustworthy customer support. While choosing your online security team, consider the availability and quality of customer support that can be determined from features such as live chat, phone support, and online resources

To ensure that the solution meets your specific needs, it is important to sit with your consultants and narrow down your options before you choose the right internet security solution.

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Additional Measures for Enhanced Online Security

Apart from employing a robust internet security software, we recommend that you enhance your online security and add a layer of protection with these steps:

  1. Enable Firewall protection – Your computer will have an in-built firewall that will block unauthorized access to your system when kept on. These firewalls are a barrier between your device and the internet, and their primary objective is to monitor incoming and outgoing traffic for potential threats.
  2. Regularly Update your Operating System – Updating systems, apps and programs from authorized accounts will implement the security patches that they include. These security patches will take care of current and potentially known vulnerabilities.
  3. Be Vigilant of Phishing Attempts – Keep your antennas up for frauds and familiar looking yet bogus offers. Everything that shines isn’t gold, and not every person wanting to send you money is genuine. Do look out for scams and suspicious activities that are displayed on news channels. DO NOT click on unknown links and download from unknown websites.
  4. Monitor your Online Accounts – Keep a tab on all your accounts and keep changing your passwords from time-to-time. Enable notifications for account logins and set up alerts for any unauthorized access. Enable 2 step verification process for sensitive accounts.

Let’s be clear about this; such precautions will definitely strengthen your online security and however not eliminate but only minimize the risk of cyber threats.

Conclusion: Taking Control of Your Online Experience

“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future”’ said Niels Bohr, the father of the atomic model and a Nobel Laureate. Bohr’s words are true when it comes to cyber security and predicting where and how criminals might attack next. We can only try and be a step ahead of them. We relax, become complacent, they catch up, and then it’s too late! Take control of your online experience, reap the benefits of the 21st century’s industrial revolution, and defend your hard-earned money by taking appropriate security measures.

This article is brought to you by Portman Tech Solutions Limited, a leading provider of internet security solutions in the UK. Contact Us  to explore our range of products and services.


Picture of Vikas Shah
Vikas Shah

Vikas Shah joined Portman Tech as Chief Technology Officer in 2018. IT has always been his passion and he has built his career around technology. Vikas closely follows developments in technology, providing clients with solutions that fit their requirements.

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