Thursday, September 27, 2012

Be Safe...well at least try

I wanted to do this post after I saw a video on the Internet. The video shows just how much information there is about an individual and how it can used. It reminds me of my very first post and the article I wanted to make.  I wanted to explain that the threat of computer hacking is real and you should protect yourself "THE BEST YOU CAN".  I understand it can be daunting, but to completely ignore the threats is foolish.  You cannot just put your head in the sand.  I try to tell people that you should try your best to protect yourself.  The first thing that is asked, how do I do that?  Well, to begin, realize that you can guard your laptop/computer/yourself like Fort Knox and still get hacked.  People will relax in their protection, like leave their laptop unlocked/unguarded or execute the wrong file.  It is what it is.  However, you still want to make it as hard as you possibly can.  I made a list of do's and don't's from my experiences and articles on the Internet.

1. Create safe passwords which have significant length and are not from the dictionary.
2. Do not overuse passwords.
3.  Limit whatever information you can from the Internet (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Google+, LinkedIn, Flickr, Instagram, etc)
4. Update/patch your OS, antivirus and software applications as often as possible. (Come on, patch ms08-067)
5.  Keep your firewall on especially when you have your computer on someone else's network.
6.  Check your URL's! Ensure that the website you are logging into begins with "HTTPS://" (SSL)!!
7.  In addition, if you have the "HTTPS://" connection, but it is showing an untrusted certificate warning, do not log into the site without getting confirmation that it is safe to use.
8.  Do not download/execute files from untrusted websites!
9.  Do not open emails from unknown sources and DO NOT execute any files in the emails. 
10.  Lastly, make sure you have a strong, complex password on your home wireless network if you are using a pre-shared key and use WPA2 encryption level.
11. MAKE SURE YOUR KIDS READ 1- 10.  Just saying. 

If you still believe it never happens or it never affects anyone, ask TJ Maxx.  45 million credit cards and about 2 million dollars.  Or ask Barry Covert who had federal agents pointing guns at him in his own house.  It was all due to weak wireless practices.  You can believe that it rarely happens but is it worth it to not protect yourself as best you can. 

I do not want this to seem like a rant or a FUD but I just want to show what has happened once vulnerabilities have been exploited.  I am just hoping that this post can help someone avoid the threats that are out there. 


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