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Old 03-27-11, 09:08 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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Old 03-27-11, 11:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: Security Tips

Living out in the sticks, being a very simple individual, and not really having much worth stealing... security ain't too big a worry of mine.

However, for ya'll city folk six's advice here is golden. I'd just like to add to the safe browsing... you could have the best possible anti-virus on your computer, but if you're going to unsafe sites or using unsafe programs it's only a matter of time before you get an infection. I know I'll receive a ton of flak for this here but I'd advise staying away from peer-to-peer file sharing programs unless you're a networking/security pro that knows how to clean crap up. Easily 98% of all the infected computers I work on have some form of peer-to-peer file sharing program like limewire or frostwire on them.

If you know what you're doing then they can be relatively safe programs. That eliminates easily 90%+ of the PC Users out there. Not an expert on security and don't know how to clean your computer up if it get's crap on it, then don't use those programs. Stay away from any site claiming free crap, and in general just use a little common sense. If some dude walked up to you holding the keys to a brand new lambo and said to you "Hey! Ya'll just won the Malaysia lottery! Here's our complimentary car for you as a token of our sincerity. We'll just need your account information to deposit the money to your checking account!" Would you really trust him? If you say yes, you deserve what happens to you next.

Good thread Six.
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Old 03-28-11, 12:03 AM   #3
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Default Re: Security Tips

Knowing how to body slam someone in case of online bullying is also nice for improved security.

I know porn is a huge deal on the internets but seriously to avoid viruses online I would try and meet women in real life. This of course may lead to real life viruses but hey life ain't perfect.
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Old 03-28-11, 12:19 AM   #4
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Default Re: Security Tips

how does MSE stack up for free protection. I have never had a single virus. Ever.
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Old 03-28-11, 12:27 AM   #5
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Default Re: Security Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob saget View Post
how does MSE stack up for free protection. I have never had a single virus. Ever.
Honestly, if anybody is adamant about sticking with free I.S. I strongly recommend MSE above any other solutions out there.

If you want to pay a subscription I prefer Norton believe it or not- but Kaspersky is decent as well. Right now I'm rocking Norton360 only cause I get it free from my prior job. From the looks of things, untill they change the program I'm in I'll likely get free copies for life. Been very pleased with Norton on all the rigs I've put it on.

Same goes for MSE a well. Put in on all my friends rigs (four desktops and a laptop) and he hasn't had a single issue.
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Old 03-28-11, 12:29 AM   #6
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Default Re: Security Tips

MSE works great but I have noticed 1 thing, it slows down the computer when logging on. After that it works fine however.
I also like Avira which I used before MSE.
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Old 03-28-11, 07:30 AM   #7
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Default Re: Security Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by betterdan View Post
MSE works great but I have noticed 1 thing, it slows down the computer when logging on. After that it works fine however.
I also like Avira which I used before MSE.
I've not experienced any slowness issues with MSE at all myself. However, I would recommend using MSE above ANY AV product out there right now. AVG had it's run, now they suck. Avira was really good until MSE came along.

The best thing about MSE is that it will not pop up and bug you to death unless something is really wrong. At least MS can get one thing right in the PC business besides Office.
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Old 03-28-11, 08:07 AM   #8
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Default Re: Security Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob saget View Post
how does MSE stack up for free protection. I have never had a single virus. Ever.
I use it on a few of my machines here at work. I haven't had an issue yet.
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Old 03-28-11, 10:20 AM   #9
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Default Re: Security Tips

Great post. Very informative and a good angle from someone who is paranoid about security. I'm the stark opposite. Excellent.

MSE has been great on any machine I have installed it on - free, updates and simply works. Whether is slows down a machine i havent noticed because the average user doesn't pay attention anyway.

best security tip - don't use Windows.
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Old 03-28-11, 10:21 AM   #10
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Default Re: Security Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by zoomy942 View Post
Great post. Very informative and a good angle from someone who is paranoid about security. I'm the stark opposite. Excellent.

MSE has been great on any machine I have installed it on - free, updates and simply works. Whether is slows down a machine i havent noticed because the average user doesn't pay attention anyway.

best security tip - don't use Windows.
Thanks. BTW, your last sentence is going to open a can of worms around these parts.
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Old 03-28-11, 10:42 AM   #11
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Default Re: Security Tips

Zoomy is infatuated with The Simpsons so don't take anything he says about Windows too seriously.
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Old 03-28-11, 11:09 AM   #12
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Default Re: Security Tips

For Windows owners, BitLocker is a good option too, as it's integrated into Windows Vista and 7 (Professional versions and above). I use TrueCrypt for files that I transfer between machines, as it's multi-platform, but I use BitLocker on drives on my desktop.
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