Updated Safe Gadget Security Tutorials – Security Alerts 2017

The following alerts have been updated to reflect new and important security protection schemes:

5/12/2017: Wanna Cry ransomware is spreading fast.  It exploits a Microsoft bug that was patched in March 2017.  It is more infectious because it can spread throughout a local network.

WannaKiwi – Decrypts files WannaCryp ransomware. Do not reboot after getting infected.

A basic lesson in patching right away and stop running old Operating systems.  Microsoft took the unusual step to put out a Windows XP, 8 , Windows Server 2003 patch to help stop this. If you use any of these OS’s, upgrade to Windows 10 now.

4/12/2017: 2 easy ways to increase your security and not have to constantly update are:

4/4/2017: Google Project Zero has found a major flaw in a WiFi chip that is used on many Android and iPhones. Hackers can run malware on devices. Apple iOS 10.3.1 and newer fixes the bug. Android patches are rolling out soon. Make sure you update your device. Any phone that does not get security updates any more, should be recycled and replaced.

3/16/2017: Matthew Green, a well respected cryptographer and professor at Johns Hopkins has a great article discussing Secure Computing – Desktops vs Smartphones, iOS vs Android and more..

Continue reading “Updated Safe Gadget Security Tutorials – Security Alerts 2017”

How to use Wireless Networks or Wi-Fi securely in Public

Last Update: April 9, 2017

Free wireless Internet, Wi-fi, sign

Free Wi-Fi is available in many locations, from your local café or Starbucks to McDonald’s and many other restaurants. Using these mostly unsecured, public wireless networks puts your information at risk. It is important to employ several safeguards when surfing at a public hotspot. If you are using a cybercafe’s shared computer, we would only use it to view information, not to even get your e-mail. Chance are high that it is compromised.

Many public wireless networks are completely unencrypted so that users can log on to them easily. This opens up a huge security hole as any hacker or sophisticated computer user could easily see all the sensitive data being transmitted. Passwords to online stores or email accounts can be easily captured by increasingly easy to use tools. In this article, we will help you access public wireless networks safely. Settings within your operating system may need to be optimized, additional software installed, and third party services may need to be subscribed to.

McDonalds Free Wi-Fi

Finding Free Wi-Fi

  • Boingo has a Wi-Fi locator. The Starbucks and McDonald’s entries are free.
  • jiwire has a Wi-Fi hot spot locator
  • There are several free apps that help you find Wi-Fi (Free Wi-Fi Finder on iPhones and WiFi Finder for Android)

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 “How to use Wireless Networks or Wi-Fi securely in Public”

How to Create, Store, and Use Secure Passwords

Last Update: 8/11/2017
iPad password entry screen

Passwords are one of the biggest security problems on the Internet, possibly even more so than Malware. Poorly chosen passwords and security questions are making online accounts easily hackable by cyber-criminals.

Everyone knows it’s important to create and use complex passwords, ones that do not include:

  • Words from the dictionary of any language
  • Personal information such as names of your kids, pets, addresses, etc.
  • The same password for more than one site
  • Ones that are written down

Few people follow this type of policy. If you are guilty of one or more of the above, you are at risk of getting hacked. Hackers are able to use brute force attacks to test over 200,000 passwords per hour. As technology improves, they will be able to test passwords even faster. In this article we will help you create, store, and easily use secure passwords.

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.

Better Usernames

We suggest users first start with a non-obvious username. Don’t use your first name or first name + last name as your username throughout your online accounts. Make up a name or alias. Include numbers and/or upper and lowercase letters. Better yet, use a different username on every site. The password managers recommended below will automatically remember all your logins.

Continue reading “How to Create, Store, and Use Secure Passwords”

iPhone Security, How to securely use your iPhone

Last Update: 6/30/2017

Apple iPhone 3GS

Matthew Green, a well respected cryptographer and professor at Johns Hopkins has a great article discussing Secure Computing – Desktops vs Smartphones, iOS vs Android and more..

Most iPhone users do not think very much about security. The iPhone is part of Apple’s closed ecosystem, helping to prevent viruses and malware from wreaking havoc. As the iPhone has grown in popularity, the smartphone has become more of a target by hackers and criminals. It is important that iPhone users immediately become more vigilant about smartphone security.  Our tutorial covers the iPhone through iPhone 7 Plus and iOS through iOS 10.

1. iPhone Software Updates

Apple upgrades the iOS software for the iPhone 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 iPhones to a computer in order to update the smartphone’s software. Needless to say, this was inconvenient and led to many iPhones with obsolete software.

Always update to the latest iOS software available as soon as possible.

If you Jailbreak your iPhone, 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. iPhone App Security

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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”

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 use Wi-Fi securely in Hotels, Airports, and Beyond

Last Update: August 13, 2017

Free wireless Internet, Wi-fi, sign

While SafeGadget has several tutorials geared towards using Wi-Fi securely, we still realize that this is a major problem area. On our recent trip, we encountered insecure Wi-Fi at several airports, hotels, and restaurants. This tutorial is designed to help all users utilize Wi-Fi safely and securely.

Free Wi-Fi is available in many locations, from airports, hotels, local café, Starbucks to McDonald’s and many other restaurants. Using these mostly unsecured, public wireless networks puts your information at risk. It is important to employ several safeguards when surfing at a public hotspot. If you are using a cybercafe’s shared computer, we would only use it to view information, not to even get your e-mail. Chance are high that it is compromised.

Many public wireless networks are completely unencrypted so that users can log on to them easily. Anytime you login to a free Wi-Fi hotspot that does not require a password, assume that a hacker can ease drop and see all information that is being sent and received.

Some Wi-Fi hotspots from vendors like AT&T and Comcast require you to log in with your username and password before you can get access. You need to understand that this is just access restriction and will not create a secure wireless connection.

This opens up a huge security hole as any hacker or sophisticated computer user could easily see all the sensitive data being transmitted. Passwords to online stores or email accounts can be easily captured by increasingly easy to use tools. In this article, we will help you access public wireless networks safely. Settings within your operating system may need to be optimized, additional software installed, and third party services may need to be subscribed to.

McDonalds Free Wi-Fi

Finding Free Wi-Fi Continue reading “How to use Wi-Fi securely in Hotels, Airports, and Beyond”

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.

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”

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”

SafeGadget.com iPhone and Android App Now Available

iPhone, Apple iPhone Smartphone, iPhone 3GS

SafeGadget.com’s Free SafeGadget iPhone App is now available in the Apple App store.  Stay up to date with all our latest security tips on your SmartPhone. Search the App Store for SafeGadget on your iPhone to find it.

SafeGadget.com’s Free Android App is available in Google play formerly known as Android Market.