Category Archives: Security Articles

Password Protected: Computer privacy starts with smart choices

Despite all the stories of computer privacy, hackers, stolen credit cards or debt cards or just about anything you can conjure up when you’re talking about the subject of protecting yourself from fraud, you still manage to run into those who believe there’s really nothing to worry about at the moment.

Or ever.

If you’re someone who has had this happen, you’re all over any tips or tricks you can use to have your identity protected and make sure what’s happening on your computer is just specific to you and no one else.

As much as you want to be super specific and try to do everything possible and then five more things, you really can spend the majority of your time focusing on two key elements of identity theft, preventing it and making sure you’re not a victim in that regard.

The first seems simple, but yet overlooked. You’re probably used to always changing your password at work, perhaps as often as every 30 or 60 days. Your company is making sure your password is kept fresh and unique, and you should take that to heart when it comes to your own computer.

That goes for the password to not only get on to your computer, but also email as well, particularly paramount if your email contains receipts or other pertinent information. Passwords should be difficult, and if you can’t remember it, then write it down and put it somewhere safe. Surprisingly, the most popular password still is 123456, but you should get in the habit of not going with the safe choice and instead something that is familiar but not so easy to figure out by a hacker.

Beyond the password, you still find individuals using WiFi that is public, meaning that it isn’t password protected (although thankfully that trend is going away with most locations that offer this as an added service). There isn’t so much an issue with using public WiFi if you’re checking sports scores or news in general, but steer clear of using it to check email, send email or, worse yet, navigating your bank account, making transfers.

This also includes paying bills online as those account numbers are out and for anyone to see. If you begin to underestimate those who hack into accounts, you’ll be the one left to pick up the pieces, and that means calling credit card companies, your bank or even Gmail or Yahoo to let

Simple Solution: Computer privacy doesn’t have to be overly difficult

As technologically advanced as most internet hackers or those who can steal your identity seem to be, sometimes it is the easiest measure you can take to keep your computer private and your name and other valuable information and numbers quite the secret.

The other irony of computer and identity privacy is we all understand that, through the news stories and information about how easily identities can be stolen, yet we tend to overlook the simple things we can do to keep everything safe and sound.

Case in point, how many times have you used a public Wifi and done something silly on that medium? What exactly do we mean by silly?

Have you ever checked your bank statement online while you’re sitting at a coffee shop? What about logging into a credit card statement sitting at Barnes and Noble?

These are really the epitome of bad judgment as it relates to computer privacy and keeping your identity safe. You should always make it a point to do one of two things: either log in using some sort of VPN login, or make sure the Wifi is password protected. Now, if you need to log in to a public network, if it’s absolutely necessary or if you’re just looking to surf the web aimlessly to kill time, make sure you simply steer clear of punching in anything from your social security number to a credit card number.
So, no ordering shoes online at the airport while waiting for your flight.

Furthermore, what is easier than simply signing out of your computer or anything that is password related online. If you’re paying a bill, logging into your email or your computer is left alone in a public place for any period of time (then again, why would you ever do that), make sure you log off or at least, in the last example, lock your screen and PC.

Finally, your password has been the same since you’ve first had your email and your first computer. The reason your company asks you to change your password once every 30 days, they’re doing so to protect your privacy, so why wouldn’t you do that for yourself on your own computer?

Maybe your work isn’t so dense after all.

You want to change your password every 30 to 60 days, and if you can at least change your password at minimum three times per year, that should deter hackers and keep you at least safer than you were when you weren’t practicing these potentially identity and privacy saving practices.

Privacy Plan: Keeping your PC protected from hackers is all about diligence

Five words no PC owner wants to hear: “Your computer has been hacked.”

The feeling that washes over your entire body is one of fear, can range from trying to ask the question why and rehashing exactly what could have happened.

You may try to reason with yourself that you took all the steps necessary to keep this from happening, then begin wondering if you really were as safe and sound or if you had some sort of loophole in your game plan.

How exactly can you work a little harder to keep your PC safe?

A lot of it rests on that slip up of sorts when you make your PC so available because you’re too set on convenience. What exactly does that mean? Think public WiFi and how often you use it for something as simple as checking email or as complicated and ill conceived as online banking.

The latter opens you up to hackers getting bank account information, at the very least and siphoning money from accounts before you realize it or your virtual wallet or online bank realizes what has happened.

Searching your internet history hardly is the worst thing that can happen, but that history also plays into just how easily hackers can get into your account. From pop up adds to sites that are easily hacked to junk email that you shouldn’t open, plenty of us have struggled with avoiding clicking on or visiting sites that are less than desirable as far as protecting your computer.
You also have to remember that your browser isn’t a default or a decision you don’t need to make. Internet Explorer is fine
A recent report suggested that the smart PC users and computer owners in general change passwords on a consistent basis. That means the log in screen and any password that you choose to save when the dialog box pops up and asks you want to save this password for this site.

Chances are when you’re talking about your email, you’ve given the green light to save a password and lived to regret it when that email password, when you type it in, all of a sudden says your password is wrong.

Then, you’re trying to track down Yahoo or Google to switch a password that you know you didn’t forget but rather someone else found. Some invest in password generator software, which devises a password that is so complex and strong that hackers have a hard time figuring it out, especially when you’re not adept at changing them enough to be different from the last.

You don’t have to be a victim of computer privacy not working in your favor as long as you’re taking the steps necessary to prevent it over and above what you’re already doing.

Tips for Safely Banking and Shopping Online

Identity theft and other crimes are growing in numbers for Internet users. More than 12 million people fall victim to various types of identity theft, according to statistics provided by the Statistics Brain Research Institute. Online banking and online shopping are extremely convenient for busy consumers. However, they can be dangerous for consumers who are unaware of all the predators that sneak around the Internet. The following are some helpful tips for consumers who shop or bank online:

Use Anti-Virus and Malware Software

The first step in protecting oneself during any Internet shopping experience is installing anti-virus software or malware software. A wide variety of companies makes software that helps consumers to combat computer viruses. Many of them offer free trial periods, as well. Interested persons can search the web for the best products and services for their protection.

Change Browser Settings

Another thing that a consumer can do to stop hackers and ID thieves from getting their information is change browser settings. Some browser settings keep personal information like passwords in their databases. Such information is not good to have in any database except the user’s mind.

Do Not Save Credit Card Information

Some shopping websites offer consumers the opportunity to save their credit card information to the website to save them time during future transactions. The feature is dangerous because a hacker can steal the consumer’s personal information by hacking into the company’s computer. Consumers should always turn down the opportunity to save credit card information on a website.

Shop on Secure Sites

Another way that a consumer can protect his or her wallet is by shopping on secure sites only. Secure sites have a few distinguishing characteristics about them. One is the address. The address of a secure site will always start with an https:// to signify its encryption. Secure sites usually advertise their security with icons, accolades and information so that visitors will feel safe, as well.

Erase History

Lastly, consumers should erase their browsing history or browse anonymously whenever possible. It helps to cut down on IP tracking and Internet stalking. Firefox and some other browsers allow their users to surf the Internet and travel about the Internet in an incognito fashion.

Consumers and Internet users can protect themselves and avoid being victims of identity theft and bank account hacking. All they need to do is be careful and uses some of the aforementioned tips.

Is Free Wi-Fi Really Free?

The United States currently hosts thousands of free Wi-Fi locations. The Open Wi-Fi website quotes the number as 66,198 with new hotspots developing every day. These locations include coffee shops, libraries, restaurants and the like. Frugal consumers love to take their laptops and tablets into this location because of the free Internet connection, but some of them may be getting more than they bargained for. Some of them may be getting infiltrated, infected and monitored.
How Safe Is a Wi-Fi Connection?
Wi-Fi connections aren’t as safe as some people tend to believe they are. The biggest problem with Wi-Fi connection is the data encyrptoin. The primary technologies that people use to encrypt wireless data are WEP and WPA. WPA stands for Wi-Fi Protected Access and WEP stands for Wireless Equivalent Privacy. WPA is the most secure choice of the two choices. However, they are not implemented many times because of the complex nature of the technologies. The result is severe user vulnerability.
Why Public Wi-Fi Connections Are Dangerous
Many mishaps and destructive processes can occur when encryption is not present. One thing that can happen to a user is the loss of privacy. Hackers can monitor the webistes that they frequent, which can be disturbing for people who appreicate their privacy. Intruders can steal important documents, as well. They can access pictures, videos, text files and more. Another thing that intruders can do is capture the login information of a person’s frequented sites. Any websites that the person does not visit frequently may be subject to hacking an intrusion through the use of keyloggers. Malicious persons can invade someone’s mobile devices, as well. So much is a stake when a person is not careful on the Internet.
How to Prevent Hacking During a Wi-Fi Connection
One thing that a user can do to stay safe is enable two-step authentication. Two-step authentication requires a person to have to use two pieces of identification to log into an important website. Changing one’s passwords frequently can help elminate security issues, as well. A good rule-of-thumb practice is to change the passwords at least once every three months. Finally, a Wi-Fi user will want to install an antivirus program to avoid interference. The user can avoid or minimize security breaches by following the previously mentioned tips. Taking precautionary steps can prevent irreparable damage from occurring.

Crucial Password Safety Tips

Keeping one’s Internet credentials safe and secure should be every computer user’s top priority. Identity theft is a horrible occurence that happens to more than 15 million people in the world each year.

Hacking and account stealing are two subdivisions of identity theft by which people can wreak havoc on other people. A person can impersonate another person online, and he or she can destroy that person’s reputation. Users can protect themselves by implementing some obvious and not-so-obvious strategies:

Pick a Head-Scratching Password

Head-scratching passwords are passwords that other people can’t easily crack using a person’s personal information. Far too many people create passwords that are easy for them to remember. They use parts of their name, birth dates and cities thinking, “This is great! I’ll remember!” Unfortunately, a malicious person can remember, too! Most sites ask users to create an eight-character password that has at least two numbers in it. The user should choose numbers that do not repeat and a word that has nothing to do with anything that someone else could easily guess.

Say No to Staying logged In

Many sites such as Yahoo Mail ask visitors if they want to stay logged in for two weeks. The feature is convenient because it saves the user 10 to 15 seconds. However, the feature leaves account holders vulnerable to hacking, and it leaves account holders vulnerable to having other people read their mail.

Say No to Storage

Personal information storage is a feature that some websites and web browsers have. No computer user should have such a feature intact. Bad software or malware, viruses and hacking programs can get hold of this information and do much harm to a person. Users should deactivate any such a feature by finding the setting and hitting the “off” button.

Change the Password Frequently

Users should change their password frequently to increase the security on the account. Some sites have an automatic password changing prompt, while other sites do not. A computer user should change the password at least once every three months. Protection improves with change frequency.

The previously mentioned tips can help a person to protect the most crucial accounts against identity theft and destruction. Consumers should use those tips and as many others as they can accumulate. Anti-virus software, malware killers and other protective sources can assist with theft protection, as well.

2105 Review: Top Computer Privacy Programs

Being able to use one’s computer privately and with little risk is the goal of almost every computer user. As Internet crimes are occurring more frequently, computer owners are being forced to search for programs that can provide them with the protection they need. The following are three privacy software suggestions for people who want to maintain peace of mind when they use their computers:

History Clean

History Clean was rated as one of the top privacy software items of 2015. The program is best for consumers who are trying to keep an eye on their budgets. History Clean comes with a wealth of features that protect users from fraud and tracking. Some of the features that come with the program are cookie cleaning, download cleaning, temp file cleaning, cleanup scheduling and more.

Cyberscrub

The Cyberscrub program is much more expensive than the History Clean program is. However, Cyberscrub offers a wide variety of features that History Clean does not have. One feature that the program offers is the option to hide one’s IP address. Private browsing is the desire of many computer owners who wish to keep their activities to themselves. Cyberscrub offers additional features such as email cleaning options, free space wiping, instant messenger cleaning and more. Consumers rated Cyberscrub with 9.63 out of 10 points.

Norton Internet Security

Norton Internet Security has the other contenders beat when it comes to high pricing. However, Norton Internet Security was rated the top performer for support and assistance. Norton users rated the program 100 percent effective in areas such as usability and protection. The repair grade was slightly lower, at 67 percent. Some of the features that come with Norton Internet Security include anti-spam and anti-malware, safe browsing, anti-phishing, firewall, social network protection, bootable rescue CDs, and 24/7 customer support. The program works on a number of devices including devices that have Windows Vista, 7 and 8. Norton Internet Security is $79.99 per year for up to five devices. The program comes with the option to backup the computer, as well.

Some of the best privacy programs have free trial offers so that users can get a feel for them before they commit their earnings to them. Many trial offers do not require consumers to furnish their credit card information or any other information. They can just download the program and provide a credit card number if they want to continue service after the trial.

 

Attitude Adjustment: When it comes to identity theft, drop the ‘not me’ mentality

With the number of identity theft cases growing by the day and millions being affected around the world, you’d assume that the masses would do more than just take notice and go about their day as if fraud headlines really aren’t worth reading.
That thinking couldn’t be further from the truth.

Ask a few executives at Target how they feel about security as it relates to online protection, and they’ll tell you just how important it is to protect your identity. But for some reason, not everyone is heeding the advice.

Most of that centers on the general population adopting a “can’t happen to me” ideology when it comes to identity theft, sort of the same temperament we take when it comes to sending a text and driving or getting caught speeding on the highway.

You always assume you’re wise enough to avoid pratfalls and mistakes when it actuality you aren’t. Identity theft particularly puts a bull’s eye on your back since you’re not only at the mercy of savvy, technologically smart hackers but also your propensity to pretend like hacking isn’t something you have to worry about at all times.

These missteps might include throwing away those annoying credit card applications with shredding them or leaving your computer logged into your email or online banking and forgetting to log off each time. And as long as you have the shredder out, you might want to think about doing just that to bank statements, receipts, old tax forms or anything that has your social security number clearly marked.

Some people assume that just because you tear paperwork in half that thieves won’t dig through garbage to find anything that can help them in their cause when it comes to identity theft; actually, that’s exactly what they’ll do.

You’ll also want to pay attention to your email in terms of the user name and password. A lot of time, carelessness abounds when it comes to email as most assume no one is interested in seeing your back and forth messages about your upcoming fantasy football draft.

But ask yourself: have you ever paid a bill online? Chances are, you have and thus your email can be a prime spot for hackers to land and wreak havoc.

Typically what ails you when it comes to identity theft is either ignoring it outright or not paying much attention to it because you keep telling yourself you’re doing everything to avoid it. Maybe you are, but you might want to take at least another glance at your habits moving forward.

The In’s and Out’s of Anti-Virus Products for Home Use

Whether you use the Internet to play games, send email, work or simply stay in touch with family and friends, maintaining safety and security is essential at all times. Ensuring you have proper anti-virus software installed that is up to date is a way for you to keep yourself protected from potential threats and financial woes. Understanding the in’s and out’s of anti-virus products for home use is a way to keep anyone who uses your computers protected whenever browsing online or making purchases with eCommerce stores.

Potential Threats for Those Without Anti-Virus Software

Browsing online without the use of an anti-virus program can easily put any individual who is using your Internet connection at risk of sharing personal and sensitive information and data with thieves and hackers. Online identity theft, phishing scams and other threats of stealing information including names, addresses, social security numbers and even credit card numbers run rampant online, making it imperative to find the right anti-virus software or tool before shopping or using the Internet to enter sensitive information.

When you do not have an anti-virus program installed on your home computer it is also difficult to tell whether you have installed any form of spyware or malware to your hard drive, which can be potentially harmful and damaging to your computer over time. Using anti-virus programs help to prevent downloading harmful files including viruses and other forms of spyware online.

Features to Look for in Anti-Virus Software Tools

Whenever seeking a new anti-virus program for your home computer, be sure to check for auto-update features as well as warranties and guarantees of protection whenever you are browsing online and have the product activated for use on your home computers. It is also important to review the type of network protection that each anti-virus program you are interested in has to offer to ensure you are capable of keeping your entire household protected whenever you are surfing online or browsing the Internet, even with wireless.

Ensuring you are capable of using a wireless connection with the anti-virus protection software you have selected is essential to keep others from getting into your connection to potentially view sensitive and secure information that can lead to identity thief or unwarranted charges to your credit card or banking account.

Comparing Anti-Virus Programs

Before choosing the right anti-virus software for your home computers or entire network within your household, it is important to compare various anti-virus programs. Comparing anti-virus programs can be done by checking both online and local options to review prices, features and protection guarantees before making a decision and purchase.

Understanding the in’s and out’s of anti-virus programs for the home is a way for you to browse safer while ensuring all of the members of your household do so simultaneously. Having the right anti-virus program or software installed on your home computers is a way for you to keep potential hackers and identity thieves from accessing any important or sensitive data you have available or have entered online.

Disable Windows WGA Validation check

Disable Windows WGA Validation check

This describes how to disable the Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Check using Java script
When you go to the Windows/Microsoft Update site, before you click Express or Custom, type the following into your address bar:

CODE
java script:void(window.g_sDisableWGACheck=’all’)

and press enter. This disables the WGA check, and allows you to download updates without checking authenticity of your Windows copy.