Chapter 10. Browsing the Web Securely


Why web browsing can be dangerous

Encrypting web traffic with SSL

Securely storing information for web forms

Avoiding dangerous software downloads

Ensuring that sites you visit are legitimate

Preventing others from learning what sites you've visited

Keeping your identity secret while browsing the web

Preventing most ads from appearing in your browser

The word browse sounds so innocent, evoking images of strolling up and down the aisles of a library or bookstore or flipping through the pages of a catalog. What could be safer? But when it's the web you're talking about, browsing suddenly takes on a whole new range of meanings. Now the visions you see may be those of pop-up windows, stolen personal information, rude anonymous commenters, and unreliable rumors — all surrounded by so many ads, you can barely find any useful information.

The web can be a safe and useful place or it can be a jungle with perils at every turn. The quality and security of your web-browsing experience depend on many factors, including the sites you visit, the software you use, and the ways you choose to interact with the information you encounter. As with most matters of security, a little common sense goes a long way. The more you understand about the risks you face and the tools and techniques with which you can conquer them, the safer you'll be.


Although there are more than a dozen web browsers that run under Mac OS X, in this chapter, I provide specific ...

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