Basic Computer Security
Basic Computer Security:
Tips and Tricks to Keep Things Humming Along for Home and Small Business Users
Windows, Viruses, Malware and Spyware:
Windows was never designed to be on a network, let alone on-line! Originally, way back in the 70s and 80s it was designed to be the follow-on to PC/MS-DOS on the personal computer. Internet Explorer was made out of Windows Explorer, which means it’s nothing but a file manager right in Windows and right on the innards of your Operating System. It just rolls out the royal red rug for anything that comes along and wants to run. There is nothing organic to Windows to stop malicious software. Really, it’s like trying to get a 3-year-old to pick up the toys.
Does your browser look like this?
Well, how did it get that way? When you install some utilities they’ll want to install a toolbar. Most of the time, there’s a check box that you have to “uncheck,” think of it as opting out. Don’t just go clicking through, actually read what’s going on with it and what it wants to do to you. There are some toolbars that want to take over your search engine, like Bing, Yahoo, and Ask. By and large they’re benign but, some of them want to sell you to advertisers.
Real Live Scary Things!
No, this isn’t really Microsoft Security Essentials, it’s the Fake Alert Trojan and it’s taken over your Windows Computer.
Fake FBI Moneypak Ransomware:
This is the $100.00 version and guess what, don’t pay them, your computer is locked and the best way to get it out is an offline scan!
Since nothing secedes like success, here’s the 200.00 version! This computer is locked-up until this thing is pulled out by the roots
An Ounce of Caution is Worth Ten Pounds of Regret!
You have to have good virus protection. Just having it installed isn’t enough, the software has to be updating and scanning correctly! Fake Alert and the rest of the family turns off Norton, McAfee, Symantec and Microsoft Security Essentials. Personally I run AVG 2013 Free, with Malwarebytes as a back-up. They’re both free and off-brand and between the two of them, nothing escapes!
Maintain your user names with strong passwords! A strong password is a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters that is at least 8 characters long. It would be something like BB-39_Arizona the only Battleship that is still on the active registry of United States Navy Ships.
Encrypt your user names and passwords in a password vault application, like KeepassX or KeePass2
They’re both open source, free software, you have a master password to open the application, and they’ll automatically populate the fields for you. And, if you’re stuck, they’ll generate a password for you. Both can be transferred to a thumb drive so you can access your sites, emails anywhere you go, without them being on your laptop!