Stay Safe Online

This article is going to tell you about staying safe online. It will give you a few good tips to follow.

As we all know the internet is becoming more and more dangerous to be on. We are always been told about Anti Virus programs, Anti spyware, Trojans, Malware and so on…

So if you are worried about staying safe online, then follow this guide below and you should be ok, or at least minimise your chances of been a victim!

1 – Probably the most obvious is to make sure you have at least some basic protection. A few good free Anti-Virus programs are AVG Free, Avira & Avast. All offer great protection, however I would recommend Avira.

2 – Give you computer a full scan. If your computer is already infected with a Trojan, worm, virus etc then it can lead to more infections, disable security, download things, redirect you to websites. It is also best if you run a full virus scan every few weeks to clear any infections up.

3 – Try a program called WOT (Web of Trust). When you search in Google this will give a small icon that indicates whether the site is Safe, Unknown or Dangerous. It’s like an early warning system.

4 – If you are using Internet Explorer then download Firefox or Google Chrome. These two browsers are considered to be much safer. If you prefer to stick with IE then make sure you always have the latest updates!

5 – If you don’t know what you are downloading, then DON’T! To many times I have asked customers with infected computers, “what were you doing to get 300 viruses” and they say I don’t know I just clicked something.

6 – Try to steer clear of any P2P software. As mentioned above if you see a song that you want to download but don’t trust the source. Then why download?

So there you have it! A few simple tips on staying safe online.

5 Areas You Must Know About to Stay Safe Online! Part 1 of 5

We all use computers now and as such we have a need to protect ourselves from Virus, Trojans, Phishing, Hacking, Browser Hijack etc. In this series of articles I will be exploring some of the ways that I make sure my family and friends are kept safe online.

There are 5 main areas that I will cover, they are;

– Virus protection
– Firewall
– Spam email
– Browser security
– OS security

These articles will mainly be dealing with non business users, so I will try where I can to recommend software that is free.

So let’s dive straight in and look at what Virus protection software is all about. Lots of unfriendly people will write software that will do anything from giving you an annoying pop up message right up to deleting your work or important files for the computer to work. So your 1st line of defence is to get an Antivirus protection program.

There are lots of them out there; the big names are Norton, McAfee, and AVG. All of them have products that you pay for and when installed they will get regular updates via the internet as they discover new virus out in the wild and make their programs aware of how to identify them and protect your PC from them. As they give you regular updates the cost of the software will nearly always include a 1 year subscription to updates, and then after that year you have to pay for a new years worth of subscription.

My suggestion to anyone who is not a business is to go and get AVG Free as this does not cost anything to use and it gives you automatic updates as well with no subscription changes. The way you get it is go to Google and just type in “AVG Free” and you will see it there. All you need to do is download the one called Free Basic Protection and save it to your PC and then run the program that it downloads.

There is one thing to be aware of, a lot of PC come with a trial version of antivirus software pre-installed so you will have to uninstall that as having 2 antivirus software running on the same PC will slow the PC and does not give you any added protection. To uninstall any other antivirus software you will probably have to go to your control panel and click on add / remove software and find it in this list and uninstall it from here, unless they have been nice enough to provide you with an uninstall routine.

So now we have our 1st line of defence in place, and with AVG you will have a little icon bottom right by the clock and as long as it is there you are protected from most viruses on your PC. In the next article I will be discussing Firewall as your gate keeper to the internet.

Staying Safe Online and Avoid Getting a Virus On Your Computer

Tip #1: Avoid File Sharing Programs

File sharing programs such as emule, Limewire, Sharezaa, Kazaa, Frostwire, Bearshare, etc are breeding grounds for distributing malware and virus infected programs and music. If your just a casual computer user most likely you never heard of any of these programs, however, if you have a son, daughter, or grandchild that uses your computer it’s a good idea to check if any of these programs are installed. These programs usually run in the background sharing files on your computer over the internet. Now by default your private files aren’t shared only files that are put into a certain folder, so in most cases your personal files aren’t being transmitted. The bad news is, these programs for the most part are used to download illegally obtained software and music. Not only is there a chance you could face a lawsuit for the copyright holder, there is a very very good chance the illegal file contains malware that will infect your computer. I recommend removing any such programs from your computer.
 
Now if you do insist on downloading music, movies, and games at least do it safely and learn how to use bittorrent. I recommend the utorrent client and searching sites like btjunkie.org. Furthermore make sure you take the time to read user comments which will tell you whether or not the file is infected, if there’s a user warning that the is infected or if there’s no comment at all avoid it. I’m not going to go into specifics on how to use bittorrent here the information is easily accessible through a search. And frankly if you can’t figure it out it’s best you not try and risk getting an infection.
 
Tip #2 Change your DNS
 
Every website on the internet has a unique number address say for example 54.32.1.111 now imagine having to remember dozens of numbers to your favorite websites. That’s where DNS comes in in your web browser you type JRDTech.net it has to first go through a DNS server that matches name with the correct number address and sends the correct page back to your web browser. Normally DNS servers are automatic and not moderating so if a website is infected with a virus and you type in or click a link to that website you’ll become infected as well. The good news is there are several secure DNS servers which monitor domains for malware activity and block the site from loading on your computer. You’ll just see a ‘page not found’ error.
 
Here is a list of a few secure DNS servers

OpenDNS:
208.67.222.220
208.67.220.222
 
Comodo DNS
156.154.70.22
156.154.71.22
 
If you know how to change it, great. If not here is a simple program that will change it for you, DNS Changer launch the program (if Windows Prompts you with a warning click yes, don’t worry it’s safe) once the applet is opened the only thing you need to worry about is “Choose a Free DNS Service” click the drop down box below that and you’ll see a list of preset DNS server. I recommend using option ONE OF the following choices. Open, Open2, or Comodo. Once you’ve chosen click it and you’ll see the number IP address of the DNS server appear below. Finally click the “Apply DNS” button on the left side. Congratulations your computer just got a bit safer!
 
Tip #3 Keep Your Computer Updated
 
This is a simple step that everyone seems to overlook. Simply keeping Windows up-to-date will prevent many viruses from infecting your computer. Many viruses exploit un-patched security holes in software to infect your computer. Many times though however the patch to fix the issue was released long before the computer got infected…if only you had made sure your computer was up-to-date!! So don’t ignore the Yellow Shield with a black exclamation mark down by your computers clock this indicates you have an update waiting to be installed just double click and follow the on-screen prompts.
 
Now if you haven’t seen that icon by your clock it’s a good idea to manually check.
If your running Vista or Windows 7 click the ‘Start” button, then ‘All Programs” and find ‘Windows Update’ (it should be more towards the top of the list) click to open. Once its opened click “Check for Updates” on the left side. If it finds any updates follow the directions to install. If it comes back that your computer is up-to-date, great just click the Red X to close it.
 
For Windows XP: Again click the start menu, All Programs, find Windows Update or Microsoft Update near the top of the list. Click to open, it will launch a browser window. If you never ran it before a yellow bar may appear requesting you install an ActiveX plugin. Go ahead and install it. Then when prompted click Express. Follow the prompts on-screen.
 
Tip#4 – Have a Good Security Suite
 
I always tell my clients that having a good Security Suite isn’t a guarantee you won’t be infected by a virus. Detection rates on popular anti-virus suites range from as low as 40% to as high as 95%. Now just because it’s not a guarantee doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have one, of course you should and I’m going to recommend the better options below. It’s also important to remember to keep your virus definitions up-to-date and to run an on-demand scan once a week. Most of the times it will auto-update but it’s a good idea to manually check every once and awhile.
 
For Paid Anti-virus security suites I recommend:

1. ESET Smart Security
2. Symantec Norton 360 or Norton Security Suite (2009 or later)
3. Kaspersky

I think for many reading this the surprise on that list would be Norton. This product has gotten a bad reputation from it’s past implementations and well deserved too since the program was bloated and under performed. However they redesigned the program in 2009 and it’s been great using minimal resources and providing excellent protection.
 
For Free Security Suite:

1. Comodo Internet Security
Comodo is the only comprehensive security suite (anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall) I’m aware of tha’ts available free of charge.
 
Free Anti-virus/anti-spyware: (No Firewall included)

1. Microsoft Security Essentials
2. Avast!
3. AVG Free