How to: Safe Online Banking and Online Trading

Last Update: 8/26/2017

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 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.

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How to Setup a Secure Wireless Network Router

Updated: 12/15/2017
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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iPhone Security, How to securely use your iPhone

Last Update: 10/10/2017

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 11.

0. Obsolete Hardware

If you have an iPhone or iPad that no longer gets updates, we would recycle it and buy a new one RIGHT away. Keep in mind that iOS 10.3.3 is the first version that fixed a Huge Broadcom Wi-Fi bug. Without that fix, you can get hacked by just having a Wi-Fi signal nearby.

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.

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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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Recovering from Ransomware or a Malware Infection

Last Update: 11/1/2017

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.

  • You are being asked to pay a ransom
  • Pop-up windows, especially ones selling anti-virus software
  • 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 a lot 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 Ransomware or a Malware Infection”