How to: Safe and Secure E-mail

Last Update: 8/26/2017

Spam, can of spam less sodium

Every computer user uses e-mail. Security breaches make headlines almost daily. With more and more people going online, consumers are worried more than ever about keeping their e-mail safe and secure.

E-mail is the major way most malware is transmitted across the Internet. E-mail is the largest attack vector against large companies, as it is far more difficult to physically infiltrate a company. In this article, we will help you use e-mail more securely.

A recent experiment of 150,000 test emails sent by Verizon Enterprise Solutions found that 23% of recipients opened the email, 11% click on the attachment. One person clicking on the attachment would have infected the organization.  The human is the weakest link.

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.

The Golden rules of the Internet:

  • Do not trust anyone
  • If it is too good to be true, it probably is
  • Don’t install software from anonymous sources
  • Don’t automatically hit “yes” to any pop-up
  • If it looks suspicious, run

Secure Your Router

Continue reading “How to: Safe and Secure E-mail”

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”

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

Continue reading “How to: Anonymous Browsing, Internet Privacy”

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 Firefox Browsing

Last Updated: 4/14/2016

firefox browser

Firefox is one of the most popular web browser for Windows and other platforms. This makes it a large target for malware and cybercrime. We will focus on securing Firefox, and will significantly increase the browser’s security through add-ins and special hardening settings. We are avoiding earlier versions of Firefox and recommend users to upgrade to the latest version of Firefox. We also recommend running under Windows 7, 8 or 10, 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.

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.

We recommend booting from a Linux CD or USB key when performing mission critical applications such as online banking, online trading, or online shopping.

Firefox includes the following security oriented features:

  • Instant Web ID
  • Do not Track
  • Private Browsing
  • Clear Recent History
  • Customized Security Setting

The Golden rules of the Internet: Continue reading “Secure Firefox Browsing”

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”

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”

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”