Computer Security and Privacy Actions

Discussion in 'Tech & Support' started by Malice, Jan 18, 2008.

  1. Malice BMFH

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    As of late, I have decided to writeup a small tidbit on different ways to secure you, your data and your surfing habits.

    1) Do not use your ISP's DNS servers
    ISPs see having to have DNS servers as a burden. They only put them up as its required. They typically maintain them on old and unreliable hardware, so they can go down frequently and for long times. Secondly, this also can help protect your surfacing habits, keeping your surfacing habits a tad bit more hidden from your ISP and its evildoers. (not really that bad)
    I suggest using a DNS system called OpenDNS. You can setup DNS using a free very powerful DNS system. To subscribew to OpenDNS, goto the website https://www.opendns.com

    You will need to register and account and then change either your computer or your router to point to this new DNS server.
    You also have the availability to perform numerous other activities
    • Whitelist - Setting up a series of sites that ALWAYS are available regardless of their content
    • Adult Site Blocking - Setting up blocks of Adult oriented sites, great if you have kids
    • Phishing Site Blocking - Setting up blocks of phishing sites that are common on the net, they go up and down at a moments notice and millions of people submit sites to this list
    • Domain Blocking - Setting up blocks of specific websites regardless of their content
    • Stats and Logs - Logs of all the DNS requests, websites visited and the like
    • Network Shortcuts - Allows you to setup shortcuts to websites, such as setting MAIL (in a web browser) to point to mail.yahoo.com
    • Typo Corrections - This system allows you to have it correct typos that you may commonly make
    • Typo Exceptions - Setting up specific exceptions to the corrections

    2) Hardcoding Known Bad Sites
    This is a good way to keep advertising sites from sending you to sites that might have malware. Its fairly secure, but not very efficient since you have to edit this file to update it. For instance, you can set doubleclick.com to point to your own computer. This means you wont get ads, it will just point to yourself.

    I would suggest editing the HOSTS file on your PC and add in those sites that you dont want to goto.
    Windows XP HOSTS file is located at C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc
    Edit it with a Text Editor like notepad and put in lines like this
    127.0.0.1 www.doubleclick.com

    Always have 127.0.0.1, this points the site back to your PC, thus keeping you more secure.


    3) Hardcoding Known Good Sites
    You can do the same thing with good sites. For instance, I could hard-code my bank to a specific address. You have to be carefull of this as you might be pointing to an address that might NOT be correct.

    230.1.65.12 www.wellsfargo.com
    This is only an example.


    4) Disable Universal Plug and Play
    On routers at home, you need to disable this. This is a great protocol to use, but its unproven and could have very bad effect. A virus could be written to utilize Universal Plug and Play to a negative effect. Note, a virus has not been written for this, but could. This may also cause problems with applications that rely on it. For instance XBox Live may not function properly, to get it working you need to open ports on your router for it to function appropriately.


    5) Encrypt Email
    Always encrypt email. I personally use Thunderbird to get my email. Thunderbird is located -HERE-

    To encrypt email using Thunderbird and IMAP, I simply picked Use Secure Connection > SSL when setting up the connection. This encrypts all data I send to and from my email provider.


    6) Have a Good AntiVirus Product
    There is no substitute for a good reliable AntiVirus product.


    7) Have a Spyware Product
    A good spyware product is needed to keep malware and spyware off your computer. These have become the most reliable way to have viruses and programs that you dont want to be installed on your PC. This is required because those apps may not be picked up from an AntiVirus program.


    8) Wireless Security
    Wireless is a great tool, but it can be a problem if not secured properly. When setting up a wireless connection, you need to not use the WEP protocol, as it old and easilly cracked. You need to use the WPA or WPA2 protocol via your router.


    9) Passwords
    Password security is something that most people dont take seriously and that is a shame. Passwords should NEVER have a friends or family members name. It should be at least 10-12 characters. Keepass is a program where you can save your passwords. It also has a great random password generator.


    10) Cookies
    Clean your web browsers cookies on a frequent basis, as they can be used to track your web browsing habits.


    11) Email Validation
    Getting spam email is a constant now. You need to verify any email you open if from a trusted source. If its not, simply delete it. These spam emails typically either are carrying a virus or have a link to a website which is usually a phishing scheme.


    12) Key Logger
    If you have a child, this is a must as far as I am concerned. This is a program that actually copies every character the person types into a text file that you can view later on. If you want to be very protective, some take screenshots also.


    13) Erase Unused Space
    If you are anything like me, I use a text editor as a temp storage spot for passwords, phone numbers, addresses, and account numbers. This is generally something you dont want someone to get a hold of. When you delete something in windows, it moves it to the recycle bin. When you empty the recycle bin, the data is still there on your hard drive, the only thing actually gone is the "FAT" address of the beginning of the data. If you do anything like this, or simply EVER have data on your computer you wouldnt want anyone else to have, download a program like Eraser.
    This application can be simply setup to overwrite ALL "empty" unused space on a drive. It uses Department of Defense standards of wiping space. it basically makes it almost impossible to recover anything ever deleted.


    14) Encrypt Vital Data
    Encypting data is not a hard thing to do, and makes your data much more secure. Granted, using encryption on a desktop might not be trully needed, but encrypting data on a laptop I would suggest, if you take your laptop with you. I suggest using an application called TrueCrypt. I have posted a link to a thread specifically for Truecrypt in the following LINK.
    In an issue of this nature, I suggest you create an encrypted file for mounting. This file can house all your data that needs to be encrypted, email/tax info/whatever. This allows you to have most of your data on your laptop NOT encrypted, but only a small portion encrypted.
     
  2. Malice BMFH

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    I will continue to add more to this thread as I learn more.
     
  3. GoldenAgeHero Registered

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    good idea malice.
     
  4. ComicChick I Work Too Much

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    this is helpful, i like it
     
  5. Malice BMFH

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    I have to think of more issues to put down here...and to expand a tad more that are present
     
  6. Malice BMFH

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    anyone have any other questions of comments on this?
     
  7. jaguarr Be Your Own Hero

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    Nice first effort, Malice. I use opendns myself (have for a couple years, now) and love it. :up:

    jag
     
  8. Malice BMFH

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    added a keylogger as well
     
  9. LexCorp Lex Luthor

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    As a fellow IT Guy I say thanks.
     
  10. Malice BMFH

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    *waves*
    I know the headache you feel...
    So my message goes to everyone on BEHALF of us all...
    :)
     
  11. LexCorp Lex Luthor

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    Indeed

    Point 6 - we use McAfee which I have found to be very very good.
     
  12. Malice BMFH

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    I personally have etrust av (by CA) on my home PC, and the thing I like about it, it has a VERY small footprint compared to Norton
     
  13. jaguarr Be Your Own Hero

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    You Windows guys and your anti-virus software. :hehe:

    jag
     
  14. Malice BMFH

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    "Hi I am a Mac, and Steve is God!"

    (I am playing with you Jag....like you know, I may get myself a Mac next year to grow my knowledge)
     
  15. jaguarr Be Your Own Hero

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    If you're looking for an awesome AV program with a VERY small footprint, try ClamWin. It's free and open source so it's updated constantly and whoops seven kinds of ass on Norton and McAfee, three of which were previously unidentified. There's even a Mac OS X version (Clam X) that I run to scan the email attachments all my Windows Afflicted friends send me so I can save them from themselves and not forward that kind of stuff on. :up:

    And Steve's not God, Malice. He's just one of his favorite prophets. :oldrazz:

    jag
     
  16. Malice BMFH

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    Clam is nice, and I use it as a secondary AV program to CA Etrust...
     
  17. Malice BMFH

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    Added this one too

    13) Erase Unused Space
    If you are anything like me, I use a text editor as a temp storage spot for passwords, phone numbers, addresses, and account numbers. This is generally something you dont want someone to get a hold of. When you delete something in windows, it moves it to the recycle bin. When you empty the recycle bin, the data is still there on your hard drive, the only thing actually gone is the "FAT" address of the beginning of the data. If you do anything like this, or simply EVER have data on your computer you wouldnt want anyone else to have, download a program like Eraser.
    This application can be simply setup to overwrite ALL "empty" unused space on a drive. It uses Department of Defense standards of wiping space. it basically makes it almost impossible to recover anything ever deleted.
     
  18. Adam Registered

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    Nice thread. I already knew everything but I know many people who will find this handy.
     
  19. Malice BMFH

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    danke....
     
  20. Morg Super Moderator

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    so I can erase all my elisha porn before anyone can get it? cool :grin:
     
  21. Malice BMFH

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    Absolutely
     
  22. Morg Super Moderator

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    You know any good programs that work with vista to hide my IP? I'm still getting spam emails from sites I visit
    I use a cloak IP when I surf but it makes the pages load pretty slow
     
  23. jaguarr Be Your Own Hero

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    Just use sites like:

    monsterproxy.com
    ninjaproxy.com
    proxyninja.com

    There are a ton of them out there. Some are faster than others at times, but they all work generally pretty well. I have goodies on the Mac side for IP masking, but I don't use Windows enough to know what's hot and what's not. But those sites are very easy to use and you can use them from any computer which is a bonus.

    jag
     
  24. The-Dark-Knight Registered

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    My ISP provides me with a spy ware thing, do i still need to buy a norton Antivirus, i do every year but its just about to run out and just wondered.

    I figure i do. but never hurts to ask.
     
  25. Morg Super Moderator

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    Get AVGfree, works pretty good and it's free
     

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