For those of you that follow my articles you will know that security is one of my primary concerns, I try to keep on top of the latest vulnerabilities/viruses and patches whilst developing systems, and I also try to help raise awareness in my personal circles and online about security issues in our online world and how to stay safe. Realistically no one can stay totally safe online, the better word to use is safer, but you can do simple things that will help to increase your security a lot. The idea is to make it as hard as possible for vulnerabilities/viruses and malware to affect your PC. To some people these instructions will be obvious but I know they will help a lot of people as well. If each person looks after their own personal space online and the personal space of their friends and connections, the internet will be a lot more secure place to surf.
PLEASE NOTE: Although the following information will help make you more secure on the internet, it can also cause a lot of problems if you are not sure what you are doing. Your
The most obvious place to start is your router. This is the gateway to your entire private and public network. For a more in depth look at how to secure your router you can check out an article that I wrote a while ago, "How Secure Is Your Router".
- Change your default password, SSID, and create a secure PSK string (Wifi Password) where applicable. You should always use safe passwords, safe passwords are a pain but they are required. A safe password absolutely must conatin a mixture of multiple upper and lower case characters, numbers and symbols, the longer it is and more random, the harder it is to crack.
- Upgrade your hardware.
- Change your default encryption method to WPA2, the other methods are now vulnerable.
- Disable WPS. 5. Ensure your firewall is turned on and configured correctly.
Your PC/Mobile Device:
Next step if your PC itself. The programs mentioned here are programs I recommend to you.
- Install the full paid version of AVG, there are a few different downloads and you can get of different packages that can secure most devices. Again AVG is just my recommendation, and the reason I say to get the purchased version not the free is because you get more crucial features with the paid version. Businesses can get AVG servers that distribute the latest updates etc to individual or all devices on your network.
- Install the paid version of Malware bytes, again the paid version offers better protection and it again is just a recommendation.
- Set both of the above to update and search automatically.
- Do not use apps that you do not 100% know are genuine, nowadays there are some very very good copies of popular legit apps that are designed to do damage to you in one way or another.
- Do not click links with photos like “Watch this guy get eaten by a shark” etc more often or not these are click bait that will direct you to somewhere you should not to be going. Another popular method is using images that look like video players such as YouTube or Facebook videos, these images are solely to get you to instantly click it to see what it is and again it will 9/10 take you somewhere that you really shouldn't be.
- When you get links sent you from friends either on your wall or by private message, do not click them, if you do not recognize the website that the link points to by its name then always take extreme precaution, it is safer to do a quick Google search of the domain name and see if there are any reports about security threats etc, yes this is a pain in the butt, but it could mean the difference between a full bank account and an illegally emptied bank account, or worse.
- Use the Privacy Checkup that can be found by clicking on the padlock in the top right of your Facebook account. This will take you through the very basics of setting up your privacy.
- Don't be a sheep, just because your friends are using apps that can ultimately endanger your circles, be clever, do your research on the app, don't use it if it looks or feels dodgy or asks for more than the standard forms of data such as email and telephone number, also be very careful when giving these up online as well.
What to do if you have a virus:
- If you have a PC virus, I recommend updating your AVG and MalwareBytes, disconnecting your device from the internet and running AVG then MalwareBytes or vica versa. The reason you disconnect from the internet is A so that you do not get hit by anything else while your system is vulnerable and B so that you do not infect any other devices on your network or any of your friends via email or social media. Once you have completed the steps above if you have not removed the viruses successfully and you do not know what you are doing from this point, leave your PC disconnected and get it to a repair shop and fixed before you connect it back to your network and the public internet. Again this is all a bit of a pain but it will help you and others.
What to do if you have a virus that affects your Facebook account:
- Change your password straight away, depending on the virus one of the first things it could do is lock you out of your own account, you will understand how bad this is if it ever happens to you, you could also put your entire friend list and their extended friends in danger.
- Update your security settings, go to the arrow at the top right of your Facebook account and click settings then security settings. This will give you a range of security features from login alerts/aprovals to access codes and where you are logged in features. Use as many of the security features as possible.
- Remove the app and other apps that may be harmful. Go to the arrow in the top right of your profile, click settings then apps. Remove suspicious apps and any apps that your aren't 100 percent sure are safe and legit.
As I said before these methods won't make you 100% safe and nothing will until quantum encryption and data transmission, but they will definitely make it harder for you to be infected and / or hacked and help strengthen your online circles. Please feel free to share this article to help others and if you follow the article and have elderly family or friends that wouldn't know how to do all of this there is nothing wrong with spending an hour or so of your time to get them fixed up :D