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”

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”

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”

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 use Wireless Networks or Wi-Fi securely in Public

Last Update: December 6, 2016

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”

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: Safe Online Banking and Online Trading

Last Update: 7/12/2016

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.

Continue reading “How to: Safe Online Banking and Online Trading”

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.

Continue reading “Free Software for Internet Security, Computer Protection on Windows Computers”

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”

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 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”

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.