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Updated 02/08/2013

 

Computer Security

 

What does it mean?

 

Like everything else around us we need to ensure we are secure, we have House, Car and Life Insurance for instance. We can insure against loss of the above including cell phones, computers, car and almost anything else. To protect your home or car you may elect to install an alarm system. Loss of a wallet or a laptop comes with many problems. The contents of your wallet and the laptop is lost forever. Yep, you get the wallet, cards and the laptop replaced, that is it. Everything else has gone. ( cash and data ).

All very well, to a point. Our computers can hold thousands of files, text documents, pictures and movies ( DATA ) and if this is lost then it is unrecoverable unless you have made a backup. The most common scenarios for Computer data loss are viruses and malware attacks received either by a web visit or an email link, dedicated with malicious content to bring you machine down, steal your passwords for email and banking, ebay, Paypal etc. The list is endless. These kind of attacks can render your machine unusable pretty quickly.Microsoft Windows is the most prevalent operating system, so the malcontents will and do, attack in the most nasty ways. Less so is Apple and Linux Operating systems but even this is changing. New attacks now hit Apple and Linux systems. Mobile ( Smart Phones ) are also in the arsenal of the attacker.

Microsoft for years did nothing to prevent this other than 'updates' 'Service Packs', a piddling Firewall was included in XP, got slightly better in Vista and Windows 7. In reality, one relied on 3rd party software to protect your system. 3rd party Firewalls like ZoneAlarm, and Comodo for instance. Or an AntiVirus App like Norton or McAfee supplied 'paid for' suites which included a Firewall, AntiVirus, AntiMalware options. This cost was on top of the OS you were using. When you buy and setup your new purchase, there is little to protect you. The OEM software will have bundled loads of 'trial' software' including Norton and McAfee antivirus suite, plus a trial version of Office 2007, 2010 or 2013. This is bundled software ready to deplete your wallet, so think before you click to buy.

 

Keep up to date with our regular alerts; News In Brief Neil gives us much researched updates on a very regular basis, alerting to new threats we should be aware of.

 

 

 

AntiVirus Software ( the order is not necessarily preferenced, each user will have to define what is best for their particular setup )

 

 

Why should I download Microsoft Security Essentials?

Comprehensive protection—Microsoft Security Essentials helps defend your computer against spyware, viruses, worms, Trojans, and other malicious software. Easy to get, easy to use—Because Microsoft Security Essentials is available at no cost, there's no registration process that requires billing or personal information collection. It installs after a quick download and Genuine Windows validation and then stays automatically up-to-date with the latest protection technology and signature updates.

Quiet Protection—Microsoft Security Essentials doesn't get in your way. It runs quietly in the background and schedules a scan when your computer is most likely idle. You only see alerts when you need to take action.

 

 

Avira has repeatedly and consistently been distinguished by leading software testing centers, consumer groups and independent reviewers alike for the excellence of its free antivirus software and for its contribution to a safer online world.

 

 

Blocks viruses & spyware. The free version is pretty limited ( but the anti virus scanner is excellent ). You may be prompted to 'upgrade' Internet Security version, which is quite expensive @ £39.99 ( $60 US)

 

 

AVG AntiVirus FREE 2013. Have not personally tested this version. AVG did become a resource hog in Windows 7. It is consistent in protecting your machine. AVG 2013 may have overcome previous problems with this, ordinarily, good product.

Edit, Warlock has reported no problems with 2013 on his Win 7 system. Thanks Joe.

 

 

Real-time Antivirus & Antispyware, Behavioural analysis protection, Process Monitor, Automatic & transparent upgrades, URL & web filtering. The £24.00 upgrade does not really add much to the package.

 

In An Emergency Kaspersky offer some help

 

There are some good utilities to be found, to battle rootkits, malware and rogueware.

 

There are a few additional Apps to add to you freeware toolbox that can assist with anti spyware / malware solutions

 

 

SuperAntiSpyWare scans your pc looking for the nasties, finds and cleans as found. The free version will suffice in most cases: You can get Pro for $9.99 ( £6.00 ) for a 1 yr license now and then and the writer can recommend this.

 

Malwarebytes

 

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free utilizes Malwarebytes powerful technology to detect and remove all traces of malware including worms, trojans, rootkits, rogues, dialers, spyware and more.

 

Extra Security we may misunderstand: Firewalls

 

A firewall is a software or hardware-based network security system that controls the incoming and outgoing network traffic by analyzing the data packets and determining whether they should be allowed through or not, based on a rule set. A firewall establishes a barrier between a trusted, secure internal network and another network (e.g., the Internet) that is not assumed to be secure and trusted.

The Windows Firewall, first introduced in XP was not very good or researched for the consumer market. Vista and the Win 7 included a much better version of its Firewall giving the user much more control. Initially ( in xp ) it was pretty useless in that you could not control it, it was MS set, as it were. In Windows Vista and Windows 7 more control was introduced. With modern computing you do have some firewall control through your router but most users of the internet are not aware of this. Your router does have a firewall control panel! Basically, a firewall is a barrier to keep destructive forces away from your property. In fact, that's why its called a firewall. Its job is similar to a physical firewall that keeps a fire from spreading from one area to the next.

 

Comodo FireWall

If you download loads of stuff then the Comodo Firewall will alert you about registry changes, etc. The writer uses this. The Windows firewall is disabled.

ZoneAlarm® Free Firewall 2013

ZoneAlarm Free Firewall blocks hackers from infiltrating your home PC by hiding your computer from unsolicited network traffic. By detecting and preventing intrusions, ZoneAlarm Free Firewall keeps your PC free from viruses that slow down performance, and spyware that steals your personal information, passwords, and financial data. Again the windows Firewall is disabled.

In addition to internet Security against viruses, malware, scareware and rogueware consider the Security of your PC, laptop or mobile / cell phone you might considr looking at this application.

PREY

Prey lets you keep track of your laptop, phone and tablet whenever stolen or missing -- easily and all in one place. It's lightweight, open source software that gives you full and remote control, 24/7.

Prey uses either the device's GPS or the nearest WiFi hotspots to triangulate and grab a fix on its location. Right on the spot.

Grab a screenshot of the active session -- if you're lucky you may catch the guy logged into his email or Facebook account!

If enabled, Prey will attempt to hook onto to the nearest open WiFi hotspot when no Internet connection is found.

Download for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and IoS HERE>>>>>

 

BANKING / BUYING online Advice

 

Online banking, transfers, Credit Cards, paying bills etc, Shopping etc is becoming the norm and in most cases acceptable to us. We can do it from Home, Office and our smartphones. We take it for granted that we are protected when we input our personal details....Don't we? Well, in a modern world and the technology we have available at our fingertips yes we do but this is not the case at all.

There is a growing malevolent, indolent and opportunist bastard community who wish to gain access to our well earned cash and will use any means to get hold of it!

Your Bank or Credit Card company will never ask you to divulge your login or password details either by phone or email. The only email you may get is 'your online staement is ready' or perhaps the odd sales shit. Beyond that you do not need to respond.

A good idea is not to have email contact with your bank for promotions for instance, offers etc.

Phishing emails are the old chestnut, ' your account has been compromised, your account is temporarily disabled, please login to change your password '. Now you will be taken to a fraud site, built very well and really does look like your Bank / Financial Institution. This includes the likes of PayPal and Amazon to name a very few two scams.

 

So how DO you ensure you have maximum protection?

 

Strong passwords are important! Whilst this very important passwords should be changed on a regular basis. This writer changes all email passwords monthly for instance. Bank floating codes are changed bi-monthly.

I also use TrusteerRapport>>>>> This is free software that controls your logins to the Banks.

 

Trusteer Rapport prevents phishing and Man-in-the-Browser (MitB) malware attacks. Using a network of more than 30 million endpoints across the globe, Trusteer collects intelligence on active phishing and malware attacks against organizations worldwide. Trusteer Rapport applies behavioral algorithms to block phishing attacks and to prevent the installation and the operation of MitB malware strains in the wild (such as Zeus, Bugat, Tinba, Torpig, Spyeye, Ramnit, Gozi and various regional malware variants). Trusteer Rapport can be installed on any end user platform including Windows, Mac OS and Virtual Desktops.

 

Check with your own Bank, there may be a specific download geared to Rapport.

 

The most important thing to look for is the Secure Connection in your browser, the https protocol. The addition to http is that s is a secure connection.

 

Ensure you see the https://site address.xxx in your browser address bar with a padlock showing.