Online Security - how to stay safe online

There are many aspects to Internet Security and computer security in general. Here are some useful links to help you learn about what it means to be secure as well as maintain a more secure computer.

The following article is a good explanation of how and why your web-browser is targeted by mal-ware and malicious code:
3 tips on how to prevent an attack on the user environment

You need a more secure password, here are some tips and best practices from the folks at PC Magazine: How to Create Strong Passwords

Buying or selling something online? The folks over at LifeHacker have some tips to help you avoid getting scammed. http://lifehacker.com/5719986/how-do-i-avoid-getting-scammed-when-buying...

SECURITY ADVICE if you have been infected

Change all your passwords !

If your computer was infected, you need to know that all your passwords should be changed immediately !! (just in case).
Use different passwords for all your accounts. Also don't use easy passwords such as your favorite teams, bands or pets because this will allow people to guess your password.
You can use PC Tools Password Generator to create random passwords and then install an application like KeePass Password Safe to store them for easy access.

If you do Online Banikng!

Online Banking Protection Against Identity Theft

Also make sure you use HTTPS protocol with your banking websites.

Use HTTPS When Login To Social Websites

Keep your antivirus software turned on and up-to-date

  • Make sure your antivirus software is turned on and up-to-date.
  • New viruses come out every minute, so it is essential that you have the latest signatures for your antivirus program to provide you with the best possible protection from malicious software.
    Note:
  • You should only have one antivirus installed at a time. Having more than one antivirus program installed at once is likely to cause conflicts and may well decrease your overall protection as well as impairing the performance of your PC.
  • You should scan your computer with an AntiSpyware program like Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware on a regular basis just as you would an antivirus software.
  • Be sure to check for and download any definition updates prior to performing a scan.

Practice Safe Internet

One of the main reasons people get infected in the first place is that they are not practicing Safe Internet. You practice Safe Internet when you educate yourself on how to properly use the Internet through the use of security tools and good practice. Knowing how you can get infected and what types of files and sites to avoid will be the most crucial step in keeping your computer malware free. The reality is that the majority of people who are infected with malware are ones who click on things they shouldn't be clicking on. Whether these things are files or sites it doesn't really matter. If something is out to get you, and you click on it, it most likely will. Below are a list of simple precautions to take to keep your computer clean and running securely:

  1. If you receive an attachment from someone you do not know, DO NOT OPEN IT! Simple as that. Opening attachments from people you do not know is a very common method for viruses or worms to infect your computer.
  2. If you receive an attachment and it ends with a .exe, .com, .bat, or .pif do not open the attachment unless you know for a fact that it is clean. For the casual computer user, you will almost never receive a valid attachment of this type.
  3. If you receive an attachment from someone you know, and it looks suspicious, then it probably is. The email could be from someone you know infected with a malware that is trying to infect everyone in their address book.
  4. If you are browsing the Internet and a popup appears saying that you are infected, ignore it!. These are, as far as I am concerned, scams that are being used to scare you into purchasing a piece of software. For an example of these types of popups, or Foistware, you should read this article:
    Foistware, And how to avoid it. There are also programs that disguise themselves as Anti-Spyware or security products but are instead scams. For a list of these types of programs we recommend you visit this link: About Malwares, Rogues, Scarewares, SmitfraudFix
  5. Another tactic to fool you on the web is when a site displays a popup that looks like a normal Windows message or alert. When you click on them, though, they instead bring you to another site that is trying to push a product on you. We suggest that you close these windows by clicking on the X instead of the OK button. Alternatively, you can check to see if it's a real alert by right-clicking on the window. If there is a menu that comes up saying Add to Favorites... you know it's a fake.
  6. Do not go to adult sites. I know this may bother some of you, but the fact is that a large amount of malware is pushed through these types of sites. I am not saying all adult sites do this, but a lot do.
  7. When using an Instant Messaging program be cautious about clicking on links people send to you. It is not uncommon for infections to send a message to everyone in the infected person's contact list that contains a link to an infection. Instead when you receive a message that contains a link, message back to the person asking if it is legit before you click on it.
  8. Stay away from Warez and Crack sites! In addition to the obvious copyright issues, the downloads from these sites are typically overrun with infections. Avoid using cracks and unknown programs from sources you don't trust. There are MANY alternative open-source applications. Malware writers just love cracks and keygens, and will often attach malicious code into them. By using cracks and/or keygens, you are asking for problems. So my advice is - stay away from them!
  9. Be careful of what you download off of web sites and Peer-2-Peer networks. Some sites disguise malware as legitimate software to trick you into installing them and Peer-2-Peer networks are crawling with it. If you want to download a piece of software a from a site, and are not sure if they are legitimate, you can use McAfee Siteadvisor to look up info on the site. Note: skip this advice if your antivirus have a Web Guard.
  10. DO NOT INSTALL any software without first reading the End User License Agreement, otherwise known as the EULA. A tactic that some developers use is to offer their software for free, but have spyware and other programs you do not want bundled with it. This is where they make their money. By reading the agreement there is a good chance you can spot this and not install the software.

Create an image of your system

  • Now when your pc is malware free it is a good idea to do a backup of all important files just in case something happens it.
  • Macrium Reflect is very good choice that enables you to create an image of your system drive which can be restored in case of problems.
  • The download link is here.
  • The tutorials can be found here.
  • Be sure to read the tutorial first.

Optimize Windows 7 for better performance

Check the following link for more info.

Follow this list and your potential for being infected again will reduce dramatically.

Safe Surfing!