Keep a Computer Safe with Computer Security
By protecting your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer from security threats, your computer will not be slowed down or broken because of a virus, spyware, or malware infection. Plus, it greatly decreases the chance of someone stealing your credit card numbers, private files, ID and passwords, or scamming you. There are also viruses which download illegal porn, and other illegal content to your computer to store, so the viruses can get you introuble with the law if you are infected with nasty viruses which store illegal content on your computer.
I mostly talk about ways to protect a Windows computer, but the same concepts can be used for Apple and Linux computers.
You should make sure to upgrade to the latest version of your operating system if you have the cash or your computer can run the latest version. I also recommend backing up all your important files, and doing a clean install of your Operating System since it is fastest. Windows 7 is more secure then Windows XP. Also, make sure to use a regular user account since it is safer then using an Administrator account since more viruses, spyware, and malware will have a more difficult time installing itself on an regular user account compared to an administrator account. Make sure all user accounts are password protected with strong passwords like Oc+0pU$@r3Coo!, and the guest accont is disabled.
Also, change passwords on a monthly basis.
1. Use Norton Safeweb as your main search toolbar for Internet Explorer and Mozilla FireFox since it warns you if the website is infected with a virus, or malware on your search results for Google, Bing, and many other search engines.
If you use Mozilla Firefox, NoScript to block dangerous scripts from running in Firefox.
Note: you should check to see if the link to the website looks kind of weird like PayPa1.com might be a fake site, and be careful when clicking text links which hide the link address to a website under text since anyone can make a website link look like a link to a popular site by using anchor text. All you have to do is hover your mouse over a link to see the actual link to a website. Although, with URL shortner links like Bit.ly, tinyurl it is imposible since it uses a redirection file or code to redirect you to websites, so you don't know what the website is until you click on the short link on Twitter. It is best to only click on links you trust from people you follow on Twitter since randomly clicking on short links which redirects you to other pages can be harmful for your computer or you if the site is a scam or contains a virus.
2. Avoid downloading programs from untrusted sites since some of those sites are full of viruses and spyware.
Never download file attachments if you are not expecting file attachments since malware has gotten smarter and more advance, and can easily send file attachment with your friends e-mail account to infect your computer with a virus. Never open spam, or e-mails from unknown senders since they may contain a virus or a links to a virus infected site.
3. Use an anti-virus, spyware removal program, firewall, hardware router with a NAT firewall to prevent programs or people from accessing your computer.
4. Try to avoid using file sharing programs like Kazaa since there are lots of viruses and other bad programs being shared on Kazaa and other file sharing software.
5. Run Windows Update once a week or make sure it is set to automatic updates by going to update.microsoft.com or start menu> windows update. Also, make sure all your computer software like web browsers, media players, office suite is updated espiecally your add-ons for web browsers like Adobe flash player, Java plug-in, shockwave player are updated.
Free Security software for your Windows PC Computer
Free antivirus(just install one Anti-Virus. Installing two AV programs might make your Anti virus Software not work. Also scan your computer for viruses on a daily or weekly basis)
Microsoft Security Essentials
ClamWin.com(No active shield unless use with Clam Sentinel. Can be used as a second opinion virus scanner)
Clam Sentinel(Add-on for ClamWin which gives a real-time shield for ClamWin, Great for computers for Windows 98, and ME)
Bitdefender free on-demand(no active shield, best used as second opinion antivirus)
Comodo Antivirus, Sandbox,Firewall and Defense+ Security suite
Panda Cloud Antivirus
Immunet Protect Cloud Companion Antivirus
Drweb Cure it
ClamAV(the most popular antivirus scanner for Linux and Unix)
Free Firewall programs(You just need one firewall software per computer.I also recommend using a hardware firewall like hardware firewalls found in routers as an extra layer of security for your entire network)
PC tools Firewall
Test your firewall for open ports at grc.com/x/ne.dll?bh0bkyd2
Online virus scanners
Spyware(It is okay to have more then one antispyware and antimalware installed, but make sure to just have one antimalware with an realtime shield installed to prevent slowness and conflicts)
Spybot-Search and destroy
Malwarebytes is one of the best antimalware programs. There is both a paid version and a free version. The paid version has an anti-malware shield, schedule scan, and automatic updates while the free version does not.
A2 Emsisoft Anti-Malware
Parental Control Software
K9 Web Protection
Windows Live Family Safety
Norton Online Family
Disk Encrption(prevent hackers and theives from stealing your personal info or opening them)
TrueCrypt - Free Open-Source Disk Encryption Software
Disk Cleanup Utilities(erase your internet history and activity logs by cleaning your internet history, cookies, and temporary files, and get a few MBs of space back)
Data Destruction software(good for when you need to destroy all sensitive data on a hard drive before selling or recycling a hard drive)
DBAN(Darik's Boot And Nuke)
6. If you have a Wireless Network make sure you Password protect your Wireless Router (The box with the 1-2 Antenna) Use WPA2, WPA, WEP to encrypt your Wireless routers password.WEP is the least secure encryption method. WPA2 is the most secure, and WPA is also secure. If your computer does not support WPA then use WEP since it is better then nothing.More Advance: Use Mac filtering to secure your wireless network. Since every computer have a different MAC Address, so mac filtering is the most secure. Change the default Router login password since Username:Admin Password: admin is not very secure.
7. Turn off file and print sharing on your computer if you do not need it.
8. When picking passwords for any online or offline account it is a good idea to have atleast two of each types of characters like UPPER CASE LETTER, lower case letters, .punctuation, numbers , special Ch@racters.A strong password would be something like 1LovE2$K!1o0% If you need help managing your password instead of writing them down on a piece of paper which can be very dangerous when someone steal thems, you can use Keepass.info to help you manage and keep track of all your passwords in one convenient program. You can also store your passwords inside a document file and password protect it in MS word, or use Notepad to make a text file and store it inside a password protected zip folder by using 7-zip to password protect your zip folder. Remember to delete your non-password encrypted test file. You can use a File Shredder widget for Windows Vista and 7 to securely delete your sensitive files. Download it at gallery.live.com/liveItemDetail.aspx?li=9da0be6b-4038-469c-a50b-ac0707daaf04&bt=1&pl=1
9. Change Passwords every three months or more depending on how important your accounts are.
10. Back up your files and store them in a different location like at your office or workplace, so if your computer breaks you still have your files.I recommend using a External USB Hard Drive since they are cheap and can hold a lot of files. Get atleast a 1 Terabyte external Hard drive since 1TB drives are inexpensive and it take an average user a long time to fill it all up. If you want to back up all your files, Operating System, and Programs, you should use a program like Clonezilla to make a clone of your hard drive for easy restoration. Online backup like DropBox can be good for storing important files, but they just give 2GB free if you want more space you have to pay.
11. Check to see if there are any weird plugs like an adapter plug into the back of your keyboard since there are hardware keylogger malware which exist which can capture your keystrokes, and save them on the adapter. Also, turn of or unplug your mic and webcam when you are not using them if you use a desktop computer since there are malware which can access your webcam and mic.
Extra protection for your computer
These programs listed below will help protect your computer from a virus, spyware, malware, or rogue software like zero day threats (viruses which are too new that your antivirus definitions can't detect) which your security software failed to detect and get rid of.
You can also use sandbox programs like Sandboxie which can sandbox your computer from spyware, malware, and virusses.
System Protect is a good program for protecting your system files and personal files from getting infected, modified, or deleted by a virus.
OpenDNS lets you filter out website with malware, viruses, and spyware by using DNS to block adult entertainment, and other unwanted sites which may contain links to malware.
Clear Cloud DNS is another DNS service made by Sunbelt the makers of VIPRE antivirus. Clear Cloud DNS blocks malicious websites which contains viruses, malware, phishing scams, and more.
Norton DNS who makes Norton Antivirus also protects your computer from the latest security threats with its Safe web database.
ThreatFire uses ActiveDefense technology to detect malware and virus activity and can be used a long side your regular antivirus.
WinPatrol stops rogue activeX from infecting Internet Explorer, and prevents malware from starting up during windows start up. It can also be used to remove malware which other program can not.
Use parental control or website blocking software to block adult entertainment and other sites to keep your children or yourself from viewing content unwanted category of sites.
Learn about NTFS, drive, file and folder permissions to make sure only your user account has access to a hard drive or a program, file or folder.
Make sure the first boot device is a hard drive in your BIOS's CMOS, and password protect the Bios, and CMOS to prevent people from booting from a CD. If possible, pick a computer with a lock which requires a key to open the computer case, this will prevent people from clearing your CMOS password by removing the battery, or reseting a jumper on the motherboard inside the case. Plus, people will have a harder time stealing expensive parts from your computer. If you own a laptop, pick a laptop bag which looks less like a laptop bag, but still have good padding to protect your laptop from damage like drops, and bumps. Use a laptop lock with a cable to chain your laptop to a desk when you use it on a table with legs.
Lock the door to your computer room to prevent a robber from accessing the same room as your computer, and stealing it. You can also chain your computer to a heavy object like a desk, so the robber have to cut a chain to steal your computer.
Install tracking software which can locate your computer and contact you once the robber uses your computer to go on the internet.
Use Ubuntu Linux it is a free operating system with almost no viruses compared to Windows and Mac computers.
How to stay safe online and avoid being scammed
1. Don't give out your credit card number, Social insurance number, private photos or any other private information to people or companies you do not trust.
2. Always visit a website directly by typing it into your address bar, or from your bookmarks since sometimes scammers link you to a fake website which looks like your banks website, but it is actually a site designed to steal your login name and password
3. Before using a website, research it online or offline to see if it is a safe site. I like to use siteadvisor.com, websecurityguard.com, safeweb.norton.com, alexa.com to see if a website is safe or not.
4. pick an e-mail provider like Gmail which use a HTTPS secure connection since it is more secure then HTTP.
5.If you buy from a sellar on Ebay, Amazon, or another online market place read their reviews and make sure there are a lot of positive reviews before you buy.
6. It is generally safer buying from a store with a site shield or certificate on it which is found on the footer or sidebar in most cases on a website. TRUSTe, and VeriSign are two of the most popular site shield companies.
8. Use Paypal to pay for purchases online since it is more secure then using credit cards since the website won't have your credit card number.
9. Block people who you do not trust, and report them to the website owner, or police if needed.
10. Don't post pictures of your house, school, or places close to where you live to prevent people from stalking you in real life.
11. If you run a content management system like Joomla, Drupal, or WordPress make sure your CMS and CMS Plug-ins are all up to date to prevent a hacker from hacking into your website and secretly posting links to viruses, malware, scams, and other content. Also, be sure none of your commenters are putting links to malware, and viruses in the comment and reply section on your forum or blog.
12. Check your credit score and credit history with a credit checking company to see if anyone use your name to take out loans, credit cards, etc in your name,
To learn more about computer security, visit johnsonyip.com/wordpress/computer-security/ which is the computer security section on my computer blog.
You can also check out us-cert.gov/cas/tips which is written by the US government for helping its citizens protect themselves from the latest Cyber Security Threats.
Go to microsoft.com/security/ for the latest security news regarding Microsoft Products, and operating systems.