Recovering from Ransomware or a Malware Infection

Last Update: 11/1/2017

Windows Blue Screen Of Death, BSOD

Recovering from a Malware Infection or Malware Disaster is a difficult and time consuming process. This involves running 1 or more anti-malware programs to help eradicate any infections.

How to tell if you are infected

The first step in recovering from an infection is realizing that you are infected in the first place. Below are some telltale signs that you have been infected by malware.

  • You are being asked to pay a ransom
  • Pop-up windows, especially ones selling anti-virus software
  • Computer does not boot or start up
  • Computer starts playing funny sounds
  • Internet speed decrease
  • Internet access even when no program is running

If you have any of the above symptoms, it is time to check your computer for problems. Keep in mind that computers with inadequate amounts of RAM memory may run a lot slower than normal. We recommend at least 2 GB of RAM with Windows Vista or Windows 7.

Checking Your System for Malware

After you have decided to check your system, you should scan your system with up to date anti-virus or anti-malware software.

We suggest you first delete any Temporary Files located on the drive. This will speed up virus scanning and even remove any viruses inside the Temporary Files folder. To delete Temporary Files follow the steps below: Continue reading “Recovering from Ransomware or a Malware Infection”

How to: Safe Online Shopping

Last Update: 3/22/2017

PC, desktop computer

Online shopping has been gaining market share every year. Security breaches make headlines almost daily. With more and more shoppers going online, consumers are worried more than ever about keeping their online shopping safe and secure. In this article, we will help you shop more securely.

Secure your computer, web browser, Internet connection

Follow our guides to secure your Windows PC or secure your Macintosh by installing the right software, firewall, antivirus software, etc. Secure your mobile devices: iPhone, Android smartphone or tablet, iPad. Configure the settings and add plug-ins to you web browser so that it is more secure. Consult our tutorials for: Internet Explorer 9, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. Secure your Internet Connection: Wireless Network, Public Wi-Fi.

1. Configure your wireless router for optimal security. Consult our article How to set up a secure wireless router for details. For maximum security, do your online shopping when connected by a hardwired connection such as Ethernet.

2. Ensure that your operating system is set up securely. Consult our computer security guides for Windows and Macintosh. For maximum security, you could start off a Linux boot CD or USB key.

Burning Linux Live CD to a write only media such as a CD/DVD or a USB drive with Write protect switch, helps prevent any changes to a virgin Linux distribution. Keep in mind that no bookmarks, password managers, etc would be accessible.

The CD versions do take many minutes to boot up and ask you if you want to try Linux, so the USB route is definitely preferred.

Continue reading “How to: Safe Online Shopping”

How to International Travel and Maintaining Computer Security Tips

Last Update: 5/4/2017

Apple iPhone 3GS

The International Travel Security Problem

Many of us travel internationally but few realize how important computer security can be when we visit other countries. People doing business in countries like China and Russia (or any other country for that matter) need to pay strict attention to their technology security protocols to prevent the real and growing threat of high tech espionage. There have been instances of people returning from abroad and having their laptops or smartphones compromised. A mobile device used internationally and later hooked up to the Company’s network provides an excellent infection vector. The folks intent on stealing information could be government or corporate based.

Learn how to use your iPhone or Android Smartphone in China

How to Protect Yourself When Traveling

Some people might find the following list a bit paranoid, but you never can be too safe. People that work for major corporations, government, or security firms need maximum protection from attackers. There are tools that can detect the location of a mobile device to within 100 feet and can target phones by the phone number, IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number and intercept all communications from the mobile device.

  • Leave your cell phone and laptop at home
  • Buy a phone and SIM card in the other country
  • Beware of any SMS message especially if they have links
  • Do not bring any sensitive data or passwords
  • Use temporary or loaner cell phones and laptops which will be erased when you get home
  • Make sure all gadgets are fully up to date and have security software enabled. The best encryption should be utilized
  • Never let your electronics out of your site
  • If your device gets inspected at the border, it should never be connected to the Company’s network again
  • Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi altogether
  • Do not use a public phone charging cable, it could be capturing video while you charge
  • Disable microphones and cameras
  • During meetings, turn off your devices and remove their batteries. (Prevents possible recording)
  • Use a VPN with heavy encryption to connect to the Internet
  • Use Google Voice to create a “throw away” voice accounts
  • Do not connect to your Company’s or government’s network while abroad
  • Use coded language when discussing sensitive matters
  • Cut and paste passwords to prevent keylogging
  • Change any and all passwords you used on the trip, immediately
  • Enable two factor authentication for services that support this; Facebook, Gmail, eBay, etc.
  • Two factor authentication system using SMS text messages is not secure, due to the weak SS7 routing system. We suggest only using two factor when you can use a token or a time based authenticator like Googles.

Continue reading “How to International Travel and Maintaining Computer Security Tips”

Secure Internet Explorer 9 Browsing

Last update: 4/14/2016

Internet Explorer 9 IE9

Internet Explorer remains the most popular web browser for Windows. This makes it a large target for malware and cybercrime. We will focus on securing Internet Explorer 9, and will significantly increase the browser’s security through add-ins and special hardening settings. We are avoiding earlier versions of Internet Explorer and recommend users to upgrade to Internet Explorer 9. It requires Windows Vista or Windows 7 to operate, so if you are running under an older version of Windows, we recommend you to upgrade or buy a new computer. Older versions of Windows like Windows XP were not built with security in mind.

Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET)

Internet Explorer users should definitely install Microsoft’s free Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit. It helps beefup IE’s security. It even prevented the major Zero Day IE vulnerability of April 2014.

Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10

In 2012 is a new version of Windows and a new Internet Explorer promising tighter security. ForceASLR will be added, making more applications use the randomization code protection of ASLR. High Entropy ASLR will be added to take advantage of the larger memory address space of 64-bit Windows 8 PCs.

Secure your computer, web browser, Internet connection

Follow our guides to secure your Windows PC or secure your Macintosh by installing the right software, firewall, antivirus software, etc. Secure your mobile devices: iPhone, Android smartphone or tablet, iPad. Configure the settings and add plug-ins to you web browser so that it is more secure. Consult our tutorials for: Internet Explorer 9, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. Secure your Internet Connection: Wireless Network, Public Wi-Fi.

Continue reading “Secure Internet Explorer 9 Browsing”

Welcome to Safegadget.com

Welcome to Safegadget.com, the one-stop website for securing your computer and gadgets. Don’t wait until you have become a victim of malware. While it is impossible to prevent all attacks, it is important that we all secure our systems so we aren’t easily hacked. This is akin to wearing a seat belt to prevent an accident.

We feature many different security tutorials.

Harden the Security of your Browser

Boost the Security of your Smartphones and Tablets

Learn how to perform the following Safely and Securely
Continue reading “Welcome to Safegadget.com”

How to Safely use Twitter

Last update 1/9/2015

Twitter Logo

Twitter is becoming more popular everyday. With millions of people to be targeted, Twitter is definitely a battleground for security and privacy. This website has become a worldwide hit and consequently has become a target for those intent on spamming, spreading worms, and stealing private information. In this article, we will cover many techniques to allow you to safely use Twitter.

Secure your computer, web browser, Internet connection

Follow our guides to secure your Windows PC or secure your Macintosh by installing the right software, firewall, antivirus software, etc. Secure your mobile devices: iPhone, Android smartphone or tablet, iPad. Configure the settings and add plug-ins to you web browser so that it is more secure. Consult our tutorials for: Internet Explorer 9, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. Secure your Internet Connection: Wireless Network, Public Wi-Fi.

It is important that you follow the tips above to ensure your computer is secure. There have been Twitter Spam Attacks caused when malware infects a computer and gives control of the user’s Twitter account to a spammer. The spammer then posts messages on Twitter offering everything from Free items to pictures of celebrities, all appearing to be posted by the infected user. If one of your friends clicks on the offer, they instantly get infected, repeating the cycle of malware propagation.

Access the Real Twitter

Always make sure you are at a real Twitter log in page when you access their site. Do not count on Twitter links in email or on web pages to access the real Twitter website.

Think before Clicking on Links

Continue reading “How to Safely use Twitter”

NSA PRISM Program – How to Protect Your Privacy

Last updated: 11/7/2015

In June 2013, Edward Snowden revealed to the world that the US Government was spying on Internet traffic and other communication networks. The Government’s PRISM program run by the highly secretive NSA conducted all this work in an effort to prevent terrorism and crime.

The NSA apparently has direct connections through major Internet service providers such AT&T, Comcast, Verizon to copy all traffic passing through and can save it to its huge multi-billion dollar data warehouse in Utah. This has been going on for years and thanks to organizations like the EFF, we have learned about these invasions of privacy. The Government has stated it is using this information mainly on foreigners, but is the FBI using this data domestically?

The UK’s GCHQ is apparently doing the same type of snooping and even sharing information with the NSA.

The Government can see all your Facebook posts, read your email, see who you have called, among other privacy invading tasks.

Other services that are being watched: AOL, Apple, Skype, Microsoft, Paltalk, Yahoo, Youtube.

Specific areas:

  • Email
  • Chat- Video
  • voice
  • Videos
  • Photos
  • Stored Data
  • VOIP
  • File transfers
  • Video conferencing
  • logins
  • online social networking

Continue reading “NSA PRISM Program – How to Protect Your Privacy”

Updated Safe Gadget Internet Security Tutorials – Security Alerts 2013

The following articles have been updated in 2013 to reflect new and important security protection schemes:

6/17/2013: Microsoft Azure, Linkedin, Twitter, Evernote have now added 2 factor authentication. Be sure to take advantage of this.

4/15/2013: ID Thieves are using the IRS and filing fake tax returns. Remember that the IRS never calls or sends email to you.  They use old fashion US mail.

3/24/2013: Vudu got hacked. Again, if you use the same password elsewhere, change it. Each site’s login password should be unique, so if one site gets hacked, hackers won’t be able to access all your other accounts.

3/21/2013: Apple introduced two-step verification for Apple IDs.  You need 2 forms of proof to access Apple. Please turn this on right away.

3/4/2013: Evernote got hacked and reset everyone’s password. Again, if you use the same password elsewhere, change it. Each site’s login password should be unique, so if one site gets hacked, hackers won’t be able to access all your other accounts.

3/1/2013: Mobile payments systems lead to privacy issues and major concerns. The systems are becoming more sophisticated with the ability to collect more information about the user transactions and shared with more people.

3/1/2013: Determine if a website is safe or not before visiting it with sites like:

Continue reading “Updated Safe Gadget Internet Security Tutorials – Security Alerts 2013”

BuyVia – Your Smart Shopping Concierge for Tech Gear

Our sister site has launch, BuyVia!

The BuyVia iOS app and website bring together the strongest smart shopping arsenal available, making it easy to find the best products/deals possible across all of the devices people own – including smartphones, laptops/desktops and tablets – without tedious and time-consuming research.

BuyVia’s iPhone & Android (coming soon) app allow users to scan barcodes, compare prices, set up alerts, and more.

iPad Security, How to securely use your iPad

Apple iPad, tablet computer

Most iPad users do not think very much about security. The iPad is part of Apple’s closed ecosystem, helping to prevent viruses and malware from wreaking havoc. As the iPad has grown in popularity, the tablet has become more of a target by hackers and criminals. It is important that iPad users immediately become more vigilant about tablet security. Our tutorial covers the iPad, and iPad 2.

1. iPad Software Updates

Apple upgrades the iOS software for the iPad from time to time. Updates include additional functionality as well as security bug fixes. It is important that users apply updates immediately. Before iOS 5 users needed to connect their iPads to a computer in order to update the tablet’s software. Needless to say, this was inconvenient and led to many iPads with obsolete software.

iOS 5 allows updates to occur without the iPad being connected to a computer, allowing users to stay current far easier. We recommend all owners of the iPad and the iPad 2, upgrade to iOS 5 immediately. iOS 5 in fact includes many security fixes.

If you Jailbreak your iPad, you need to be extra careful with regards to security as iOS updates are much more difficult for you. Be careful where you obtain your Jailbroken Apps as malware is much more prevalent.

2. iPad App Security

Apple’s App Store reviews all submissions before adding them. All iPad apps must be authenticated and signed which helps to ensure they haven’t been tampered with or altered. This helps prevent malicious apps from infecting the App Store. Apps are prone to security vulnerabilities, that are fixed by updates. Keep apps updated regularly and remove apps that you do not use. Regularly use the App Store app and select Updates. iOS 7 adds the capability to auto update your apps. Be sure to use this function. Apple has the ability to remotely remove malicious apps from your iPad.

Continue reading “iPad Security, How to securely use your iPad”

How to Prevent Spam Text Messages

Apple iPhone 3GS

The only thing worse than spam in your email box is a spam text message on your cell phone or smartphone. For the last 20 years spam has been clogging up our email, and now it is in full bloom on our phones. Spam Texting needs to stop.

How do Spammers get Phone Numbers?

There are several sources of phone numbers for text message spamming.

  • Internet postings
  • Random phone number generation
  • Auto dialing robo calling

The Dangers in Spam Text Messages

Just like email spam, offers made in unsolicited text messages are full of bogus offers like free iPads, prizes, or gift cards, etc. Clicking on any link or calling a phone number listed in the text message can result in the following:

  • Malware being installed on your phone
  • Unauthorized charges billed to your phone
  • Recurring items added to your phone bill
  • Private information being transmitted to cyber criminals

Continue reading “How to Prevent Spam Text Messages”

Windows Internet Security Software Sale

No need to pay much or even anything for a brand new Internet security suite for Windows. We try to buy software only when it is free! For a limited time only, Leading Windows Internet Security Software are on sale at excellent prices:

Newegg.com has several security software suites for Free after rebate. Check their security software page for the current promotion. We have seen the Free Internet security software suite offer change every couple days. AVG, Panda, McAfee, Symantec, and BitDefender take turns offering a Free security software deal. Shipping is also Free.

Current Promo:

McAfee Internet Security 2012 – 3 PCs – Free after rebate Expires 5/2/2012

Internet for Kids – Parental Controls

The Internet is a scary place for kids and a constant worry for their parents. Inappropriate content, predators, and malware lurk around every corner. It is critical that we teach our kids how to use the Internet safely as well as equip our computers with necessary safeguards. First we will cover some foundational security information, then we will delve into tools and settings to help secure the Internet for kids.

Consumers Union found that households containing people under 18 had a larger propensity to being infected with malware. The following situations can easily occur:

  • A child might post on Facebook that the family is going on vacation
  • Children download apps without understanding the hazards or reading the reviews
  • Younger kids may click on links within email, without thinking about the risks
  • Not downloading copyrighted material needs to be taught to minors
  • Popup warnings from security software are usually ignored

Educating Your Kids

The most important element in creating a safe place for your kids to use the Internet is Education. No piece of software or hardware can replace teaching your kids right from wrong, and candidly discussing all the bad topics that can be found on the Internet.

Some topics parents should cover:

  • Do not reveal your passwords
  • Use social networking safely
  • Do not reveal too much personal information
  • Beware of online fraud

Continue reading “Internet for Kids – Parental Controls”

Free Security How to: Computer Security, Computer Protection on Macintosh

Apple MacBook Notebook Laptop

We begin our coverage of Macintosh security with this article. Next, we cover Free Security How to: Computer Security, Computer Protection on Macintosh Security Software.

Security is one of the most important parts of owning a computer. While Mac OS X has been safe in the past, Apple continues to gain market share resulting in hackers and virus writers making more attempts to break into the Mac. 2012 was even more dangerous for Mac OS X, the Mac Defender attack woke up Mac users, and no longer can Mac users peruse their computer without fear of attack. 2012 included several more widespread incidences.  It is important to take a few precautions to protect your information and personal data.

This article will focus on what steps you can take to lock down your Mac to protect yourself. The good news? Mac OS X Mountain Lion 10.8 is a more secure operating system. For most Mac users, many of the steps in this tutorial may be considered unnecessary to protect them from hackers and virus attacks, but if you are security conscious and require access to the Internet from an unprotected or questionable wireless network then some of these steps may just save your Macintosh from being a victims of a major attack.

Apple has a security configuration page with specific security settings for different versions of Mac OS X. Be warned that many of their security tweaks are complex and  require command line input. The NSA has a shorter guide on how to secure Mac OS X. This guide also has some security tweaks requiring command line input or more detailed changes than some owners would feel comfortable doing like setting up a firmware password.

Recent Macintosh Malware Outbreaks

Flashback Trojan – March 2012 – This piece of malware infected hundreds of thousands of Macintosh’s through a security hole in Java. Apple was too slow to put out an update to Java.

SMSSend Trojan – December 2012 – New malware which sent out expensive SMS messages.

Continue reading “Free Security How to: Computer Security, Computer Protection on Macintosh”

Free Security How to: Internet Security, Computer Protection with Addon Software on Macintosh

Apple MacBook Notebook Laptop

We continue our coverage of Macintosh security with this article. Previously, we covered Free Security How to: Computer Security, Computer Protection on Macintosh.

The Mac can be made even more secure through the installation of third party utility software. Several programs listed below are free, while others cost money. Consider the free tools first, and supplement them with paid products if necessary.

Keeping Your Mac Clean

It’s important to make sure that old software or unused browser cache files, that could be simply wasting space and causing your system to run slower, are removed when they are not needed. Old software that has not received any new updates or software whose developer has dropped support for, can also pose as a security risk, especially if the software needs to access the Internet. The following optional third party Macintosh software helps fix problems like this.

Optional Mac OS X 3rd Party Software

Keeping your Mac Clean:

0: Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition

Continue reading “Free Security How to: Internet Security, Computer Protection with Addon Software on Macintosh”