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.

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How to: Safe Online Banking and Online Trading

Last Update: 6/30/2017

PC, desktop computer

Online banking and online trading have been gaining market share every year. Security breaches make headlines almost daily. With more and more people going online, consumers are worried more than ever about keeping their online banking and online trading safe and secure. In this article, we will help you bank and trade 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 banking and online trading 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.

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How to Setup a Secure Wireless Network Router

Updated: 6/20/2017
Linksys wireless router, Linksys router, WRT54G

Security has become an ever more important part of using a personal computer. Increasingly, the daily headlines include news of companies and websites getting hacked. It is important to learn how to properly secure your wireless Internet as well as secure your personal computer.

This article focuses on how to secure your wireless network router so that you do not become part of the statistics. The wireless router typically includes a firewall that defines the perimeter of your network. Think of this as a fence, walling off your network from the Internet. Having a vulnerable wireless network allows criminals to possibly steal your data as well as Internet access. You could also become responsible for illegal downloading if your wireless Internet was compromised.

Government Spying via Compromised Wi-Fi Routers

WikiLeaks has confirmed that insecure wireless routers were hacked and users spied probably by the CIA.  If you own a router on the list, update its software immediately or buy a new one.

Federal Trade Commission Makes Asus Improve Router Security

In February 2016, the Federal Trade Commission settled charges with Asus, over critical security flaws in its routers that put the home networks of hundreds of thousands of consumers at risk.

The proposed consent order will require ASUS to establish and maintain a comprehensive security program subject to independent audits for the next 20 years.

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How to: Anonymous Browsing, Internet Privacy

Last Updated: 3/8/2017

Gold Baldwin Door Lock

Why should I be concerned about Internet privacy?

  • Do you like online ads following you around from site to site?
  • Can you discuss your health problems online without fear of losing insurance?
  • Do you worry about publishing private information that could lead to stalking, surveillance, or identity theft?
  • Does your work place monitor your Facebook or Twitter? Could you be fired over a post?
  • Do you live in a country where you could be arrested or tortured based on what you post online?
  • Did you know that third-parties collect information the government is not allowed to collect? The government has purchased this information too.
  • Companies such as FinFisher are selling hacking software to countries and corporations to break into people’s computers and monitor them.
  • Visit the EFF’s Panopticlick site to see what you are telling the world right now, before using the tools below.
  • Tactical Technology Collective has tips for journalists and activists on how to increase their privacy.

60% of people polled by the WSJ.com were tremendously worried about the loss of online privacy.

The Internet appears to facilitate privacy and anonymity, but in recent years has been a battleground that pits advertisers on one side and users on the other. It has become increasingly difficult to maintain privacy on the Internet because money has gotten into the game. As online advertising has grown, companies have sprouted up, attempting to optimize Internet advertising performance by combining advertising with profiling. While individual users may not be known by name, they have become ghost profiles that are increasingly matched up with appropriate advertising. If you have found Internet ads following you from site to site, you have been profiled and are seeing the results. In this article, we will examine many methods to enhance our Internet privacy and perform operations anonymously.

One of the main goals of Internet privacy is to make that people have the ability to make informed decisions about how they act online. Users should be told ahead of time how their personal information is used and shared.

The Real Cost of Free Content

While many users assume that most content sites are free, there is a hidden price being paid, the users private information. Most online advertising companies are tracking web browsing activity across many websites in order to build profiles of users. They cross-reference and trade information to generate revenue and better target online advertising and promotions.

Internet Browser Cookies

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How to Create, Store, and Use Secure Passwords

Last Update: 5/4/2017
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.

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Secure Google Chrome Browsing

Last Update: 4/14/2016

Google Chrome Browser

Google Chrome is one of the most popular web browser for Windows, Mac, and Linux. This makes it a large target for malware and cybercrime. We will focus on securing Google Chrome, and will significantly increase the browser’s security through add-ins and special hardening settings. We also recommend running under Windows 10 or Windows 7, 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. Continue reading “Secure Google Chrome Browsing”

How to use Linux for more Secure Computing

Last Update: 7/12/2016

Ubuntu Linux

Linux is a great operating system to supplement your existing environment. We suggest using it on a bootable piece of media to perform your more important online tasks, such as online trading and online banking.

How to use Linux for secure computing

1. Installing a Clean Linux OS with no modifications, program add-ons, etc, helps prevent keyloggers, spyware, and other malware from being installed. Burning Linux Live CD to a write only media such as a CD/DVD or a Kanguru 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.

2. Ubuntu Linux is a user-friendly Linux distribution and a good bet for most Linux newbies and novices. Try it on USB drive or burn it to a CD, there is no need to install the operating system on to a hard disk. We recommend you use an LTS or long term support version of Ubuntu so that there is long term stability to your Linux choice. (10.04 LTS is a good choice) The other popular Linux distribution is known as Fedora, it is more data center, server-oriented. If you are reading this, Ubuntu is the way to go.

3. Unetbootin is a useful utility that creates a bootable live USB drive or flash drive from Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu, Fedora, etc. It even downloads the Linux distribution automatically.   This program run on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, but the resulting USB drives are bootable only on PCs.

4. Backtrack is a specialized Linux distribution for penetration testing. It is filled with useful tools to test the security of computers and networks. You can use Unetbootin to install it on a USB drive. Backtrack is designed for security experts, it is not easy to learn.

5. Tails is a preconfigured Linux distribution full of security essentials. It includes the Iceweasel browser, which utilizes the Tor network for anonomys browsing. HTTPS Everywhere, Adblock Plus, and NoScript are preloaded, to increase security and block ads.

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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
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