Updated Safe Gadget Security Tutorials – Security Alerts 2017

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

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..

3/15/2017: 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.

2/16/2017: Apricorn makes a secure USB flash drives that require a pin code to be entered before they function.  No software or drivers required, so it works with any operating system. Dust and water resistant durable aluminium housing

2/2/2017: Laser Printers are vulnerable to security issues. Popular printer models manufactured by Dell, Brother, Konica, Samsung, HP, and Lexmark are all affected.

2/1/2017: Netgear has updated firmware for many routers that fixes a major security hole.

1/30/2017: Security minded people use VPNs to secure their communications. Many Android VPN clients have privacy and security risks.  Be careful which you use.

12/12/2016: 26 different low cost Android devices on the MTK platform have Trojan horses built in.

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

Free Antivirus, Free Internet Security Software

Last Update: 3/10/2016

Windows 7 Security Software, Security Essentials

Here are some resources for free internet security software from major vendors. Most of the software is free for home users, while businesses need to purchase a license. We divide the free software into different categories including internet security suites, antivirus, antispyware, and intrusion detection and prevention.

Internet Security Software Downside – Spying on You

Any internet security program needs to watch the sites you visit for malicious activity, this includes secure sites (https://)  To watch your secure browsing activity, security suites need to replace the security certificates with their own, performing a man in the middle (MITM) attack essentially.

Hopefully this snooping is all in the name of security, not in stealing your credit card, banking information, or identity. You can read more about Avast.

Kaspersky Anti-Virus is often free after rebate.

1. ISP Provided Free Security Software

Subscribers to certain internet service providers get access to free commercial internet security software. There’s no need to pay a dime for top notch security software.

Continue reading “Free Antivirus, Free Internet Security Software”

Android Smartphone Security, How to securely use your Android Smartphone or Tablet

Last Updated: March 11, 2017

Android Smartphone,Samsung Galaxy 2, T-Mobile

Google’s Android operating system powers many popular cellphones including the popular Samsung Galaxy S7. Most Android Smartphone users as well as most of the pubic at large do not think very much about security.

If your phone is not running the latest Android security patches, you are open to attack. A recent Wall Street Journal article showed that only 2.8% of Android devices have the latest security patches. Compare that to 79% of iPhones.

Most Up to Date Android phone

This flagship phone runs the latest Android version and is patched regularly.

We will cover some techniques to enhance your Android phone security.

You need to test your Android Device for Vulnerabilities

Continue reading “Android Smartphone Security, How to securely use your Android Smartphone or Tablet”

Recovering from a Malware Infection or Ransomware

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.

  • Computer Operates Much Slower than Normal
  • Pop-up windows, especially ones selling anti-virus software
  • You are being asked to pay a ransom
  • 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 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 a Malware Infection or Ransomware”

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: Safe and Secure E-mail

Last Update: 8/4/2016

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 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.

Continue reading “How to use Linux for more Secure Computing”

Free Software for Internet Security, Computer Protection on Windows Computers

Last Update: 4/24/2016

Optional Software from Microsoft and Other Third Party Developers is a crucial part of adding computer security to your Windows based PC. We recommend a minimal set of crucial network security software add-ons that we feel all users should install. Here are several extremely useful free security oriented software utilities from Microsoft, that are not bundled with the operating system. These programs add additional security for Windows and are free to download.

Before you make any changes to your system, always back it up.

Google Docs can replace Microsoft Word and Excel. Doing so helps prevent many of the security holes in Microsoft Office including Flash based bugs.

Windows 7 Security Software Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials – Free anti-virus software from Microsoft that is a no-brainer for everyone. Microsoft Security Essentials can also be used by small business on up to 10 PCs! It includes automatic updates and is easy to use.

Windows 7 Security Software Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer

Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer – Scans your system for security problems, missing or obsolete Windows components and patches. This is oriented towards small and medium sized businesses but can also be used by consumers.

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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
Continue reading “Welcome to Safegadget.com”

How to International Travel and Maintaining Computer Security Tips

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.

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”

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”

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”

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”