Thread: Security Tips
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Old 03-27-11, 10:08 PM   #1
six_storm
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Default Security Tips

Just thought I would throw out some security tips/habits that I (try to) go by with the community. Some people don't give two flips about security on their PC(s) but I recommend that you take a second look at what you have at risk (personal info, pictures, etc). I know that I don't like just anyone to have access to my stuff.

TrueCrypt/Hard Drive Encryption

If you have a laptop and want to up your security, you might want to setup TrueCrypt. You may carry your laptop around with you everywhere like I do, so why not add a layer of security to it? We use this at work for the company laptops with Windows 7. It's a great tool to not only encrypt an entire hard drive or USB stick, but also folders as well. It does not encrypt the entire hard drive for OS X owners, but does work for Windows.

In case you don't know what this does, it will encrypt your entire hard drive for you (Windows). It will ask for a password when you first turn the computer on, which will allow you to boot into Windows.

I use it to encrypt one of my USB sticks and a few folders I like to keep locked down. I'm actually doing some research on trying to use TrueCrypt vs FileVault (in OS X) on encrypting my home folder. Not sure which one would be better to use.

Link: http://www.truecrypt.org/

Passwords

This has to be the most important thing that you can do to beef up your security. The rule here is complication rules. Having a mix of upper and lower case letters, symbols and numbers, will definitely make guessing your password a bigger task!

My policy is to create a phrase and make a password out of it. Swap letter with symbols and numbers, abbreviate, etc. Also don't use any password under 10-12 characters; the longer the password, the better. And if you need some password inspiration, just head over to GRC and start memorizing.

Link: https://www.grc.com/passwords.htm

How often should you change your password? Well, that's more of a personal preference. I try to change my passwords once or twice a year. I'm forced by policy at work to change my work password every 60 days, some places of business do every 30 days. It's all about what you feel like you should do. I would personally recommend once a year for your PC, your online accounts, as so forth. Keep em guessin.

Classify what your passwords are for. For example, my password for NVNews is semi-complicated whereas my online banking password is pretty darn complicated.

One really neat tool I use for online accounts is LastPass. This browser add-on will remember your username and passwords, while having one master password to remember. So when I get online and go to NVNews forums, I won't be logged in until I input my LastPass password. LastPass will auto-fill the forms and then I can log in. I can't tell you how much it sucks when a family member wants to "use" my laptop and they have upfront access to all of my online stuff. Now I don't use this for the really important stuff like any financial sites. I ALWAYS remember my financial passwords and never use LastPass to remember them for me. Keep this in mind.

Some Obvious Stuff You Might Already Know

As I tell all of my clients\users, ONLY go to websites that are well-known brand/company names or ones that you trust. Just because a link shows up in the Google search results doesn't mean that it's legit. I don't know how many times I've had to cleanup a PC just from the user clicking a Google search link.

Be careful with social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace (if you still use it, you dinosaur), FourSquare, etc. I've noticed a trend of "Facebook Viruses" starting to increase more and more, it really sucks to have to clean them up.

Use browser add-ons such a No-Flash and AdBlock. These two are the only ones I currently use and are self explanatory. No-Flash does speed up web browsing a little since it obviously won't load the Flash items on the page until you say so. Same thing for AdBlock. But make sure you don't use AdBlock here on NVNews, help your pal MikeC out!

Clear your cookies and temporary Internet files daily. I have my browsers set to clear them every time I exit the program; makes it a little easier on me.

Feel free to add your own tips and tricks here. I know that I needed to re-evaluate the way I lock my stuff up, so maybe someone else does too. Looking forward what you guys have to add.
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