Updated Safe Gadget Security News – Security Alerts 2018

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

11/21/2017: 1.1.1.1 is a free DNS Domain Name Service that helps hide the sites you goto. Cloudflare runs it and promises no logging.

3/15/2018: 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. Sign up for an IRS PIN if possible.

2/8/2018: Lenovo PCs with fingerprint readers need to be updated. Lenovo laptops with certain Broadcom Wi-Fi chips also need an update

1/12/2018: Laptops for Business use may have Intel AMT. You need to configure it or else your open to Intel AMT attacks.

1/5/2018: Meltdown and Spectre are 2 new processor chip bugs that affect most modern computers, smartphones, and tablets.  They will need software updates to mitigate this bad bug. More Details – Older system without updates are dangerous to continue to use. Time to buy new hardware.

11/21/2017: Quad9 is a free DNS Domain Name Service that helps prevent users from accessing malicious sites.  Run by IBM Security, Packet Clearing House (PCH) and The Global Cyber Alliance (GCA)

11/1/2017: Windows 10 controlled folder access anti-ransomeware is part of the Fall Creators Update.  It works well and should be used by all Windows 10 users.

10/16/2017: KRACK attack on Wi-Fi. Attackers can use this novel attack technique to read information that was previously assumed to be safely encrypted.  Virtually ALL Wi-Fi equipped devices need to be updated.  The attack is particularly bad on Android 6.0 and Linux. If you have a device with no updates (eg Internet of Things), you will be open to attacks. Using a VPN helps.

Continue reading “Updated Safe Gadget Security News – Security Alerts 2018”

Free Antivirus, Free Internet Security Software

Last Update: 3/16/2018

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 but no longer recommended.

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”

Hacked Internet of Things Database

Last Update: March 18, 2018

Internet of Things Scanner

Run this online scanner to see if any of your IOT devices are visible and need to be secured.

October 2017 Wi-Fi KRACK attack Warning

KRACK attack on Wi-Fi. Attackers can use this novel attack technique to read information that was previously assumed to be safely encrypted.  Virtually ALL Wi-Fi equipped devices need to be updated.  The attack is particularly bad on Android 6.0 and Linux. If you have a device with no updates (eg Internet of Things), you will be open to attacks.

Securing Internet of Things, Smart Home Devices

More and more gadgets for the home are connected to the Internet for additional functionality. Refrigerators to Thermostats to Door Locks, the list is never ending. Do not forget about security. You may have created an open door for hackers, become part of an evil Botnet, or illegal activity without your knoawledge.

A vulnerable webcam can give ANYONE on the Internet a view of your home. Secure these home gadgets as strongly as possible. Many can NEVER be updated, which means that you should discontinue their usage.

Wi-Fi Network Connection

Here are some general tips to secure your new IOT or smart home devices:

  1. Change the default password or credentials of the Device
  2. Update the device to the latest firmware available. If the company does not have a firmware update page on their website, we would return it. Do this again every couple months.
  3. Connect your IOT device such as a Dropcam or Nest Smoke Detector to your Guest Wi-Fi network whenever possible.  This network should be walled off from the normal network, preventing access to all your Computers.  Malicious devices could snoop on your network and quietly send information without your knowledge.
  4. If the Wireless routers guest network is not secure, it is even better to have 3 routers in a Y configuration. You can purchase an inexpensive router that hooks up to your Cable/DSL modem, then have 2 separate wireless routers connected to this device. Put all Internet of Things devices on one of the Y routers. Connect your computers, smartphones, tablets to the other router.
  5. Have the Guest network that IOT devices are on, use a different dns server
  6. Turn off uPNP on your router to prevent ports from being opened up to access IOT devices.
  7. Never poke a hole through your firewall for a device. It could then be accessed by anyone on the Internet! Use Shields Up! to look for open ports.
  8. Peer to Peer capabilities are hard to secure. Avoid devices with this.
  9. Cheaper IOT devices especially no name ones sold on Amazon or eBay should be avoided. Most of these are rarely built with security in mind and are never updated.  Stick to brand name, IE Netgear, Google, Ring, etc..

Continue reading “Hacked Internet of Things Database”

How to Create, Store, and Use Secure Passwords

Last Update: 2/27/2018
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.

  1. Check to see if you have a compromised account
  2. See if a password you used has been hacked

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

Continue reading “How to Create, Store, and Use Secure Passwords”

Free Software for Internet Security, Computer Protection on Windows Computers

Last Update: 3/1/2018

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 – For Windows 7. 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. Newer versions of Windows include Windows Defender.

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. For Windows 7 and server operating systems.

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