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Pete123

Protecting Yourself - Computer Security

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I saw a post not long ago that reminded me that we have different levels of knowledge around computer security.  Rather than put a long list of things, I think that a few small things can make a big difference.

1. Use two step authentication on any websites that offer it.  When you go to login you are asked for a code.  They either text the code or allow you to get a code off of an app on your phone.

2. Do not click on links in emails unless you know the person or source.  This is a big way that they get you.  People just can't resist clicking those links and the bad guys know that.  No, the wind did not blow Britney Spears bikini top off.  Don't click on the link to see the pics.

3. Get setup with all bank accounts and credit cards to get a notification whenever there is a charge.  I get mine via email.  This lets me catch anything very quickly.

4. Change passwords at least twice a year.

Finally a note on passwords.   Simple passwords aren't a good idea, such as 'password', 123456, letmein, etc....

This little trick isn't the best way, but is better than a simple password.  When married, we had a dog whom I called Schnoodles, mainly because it irritated my ex wife.

Schnoodles isn't a real word,  an easy way to make it into a better password is to use $chn0Od!3s1894.  I will always remember that name, and can remember that $ is an S, 0 is an O, ! is a 1, etc....    1894 is something I can remember because I love the Winchester 94.

There are many things more powerful than some of these, but these are all pretty simple.

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I'd say having a decent web browser scanner is a good part of the layered steps.  I use Avast's Browser Security and Web Reputation Plugin for Firefox, and they pop up a warning for me when I reach a sketchy site. 

Also, using https as much as I can vice http is a tactic I emply as well.

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Uninstall/Remove Microsoft Silverlight. Make sure your Adobe Flash is up-to-date. Ditch IE and use Google Chrome or some other browser that gives you control over what plugins (like Flash) can be executed. In case of Chrome, configure it such that Flash content is not automatically executed but blocked, with you having the ability to right-click and purposefully execute it if you need it somewhere. (just choose your sites wisely)

You can implement all the previous listed recommendations, but it only takes visiting a web site that includes ads from an advertising server that has been compromised, and your browser automatically executing malicious Flash content, to really ruin your day. 

And no, you didn't win the lottery, didn't inherited a fortune from an African prince, you're not getting sued and served via email, you didn't get a gift package with tracking info or invoice attached for stuff you didn't order, so besides not clicking on links, don't open any of these attachments.

Also disable macros in your Office installation. (Regardless if it's Microsoft Office, Excel, Word, etc, or something else). Any sort of auto-execute is like running around with a finger on the trigger of your gun.

Make sure you have a good backup of you computer, since Ransomware may still one day strike and encrypt your hard drive.

(There's an endlessly long list of things to do that you can delve into, but Flash, Silverlight, and Office Macros are still the prevailing malware delivery mechanisms.)

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AAAWW-what do ya mean-my 1.5 million euros is just a con-just when I wanted new tires for my car.In reality I quit using Chrome-it won't let me use Roboform without having to activate every time I open the browser.I looked into this because I have a year and a half left of Roboform paid version.Google says its for my own good-it could cause a compromise somewhere-sound like anything our government would tell us.This just started at the last stable release.

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Not anymore. Malware is very much at home on iOS and Android. Apple laptops running OS-X also have vulnerabilities that can be exploited. You've gotta go some some lesser used OS in the market to be safer.

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Guys,  these are all good points that you make.  

I was trying to stick to just a few basic things to do.  My post was meant more for the older guys who may not have ever used a computer at work. 

Heck, I'm a fine, strapping young man and didn't use a computer at work until I was in my 30s.

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Linux has a dandy little built-in app for generating good, random passwords.  It's called apg (Automatic Password Generator).  I use it regularly.

 

 

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I don't think the guys I meant this for are using Linux boxes.  

There are really nice web based tools that will generate the password, save it, remind you to change the password, automatically change the password and more.

My thinking was to share a few things that folks would hopefully do.

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23 hours ago, Obiwan said:

Make sure you have a good backup of you computer, since Ransomware may still one day strike and encrypt your hard drive.

(There's an endlessly long list of things to do that you can delve into, but Flash, Silverlight, and Office Macros are still the prevailing malware delivery mechanisms.)

I'll second the backup recommendation (and not just because of ransomware).  And, I'll add Java to the list. Very few home users need it, and it's had a lot of security issues.

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Yeah, that ransomware is evil, and the only way you can recover is to restore a version in most cases.

Also, I agree with Rod Myers about ditching Windows.  Yes, other platforms can certainly be hit.  Having said that, the entry point for the most valuable data and money is on Windows computers, so they are attacked so much more than the others.

Hats off to Sam1 for mentioning the only definite way to be safe!

Edited by Pete123

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