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IT Security Tips

The increased complexity of computer technology brings along great benefits for human users. Suffice to remember that not even two decades ago we did not have any other choice than to ask someone and hope they get it right or to make a trip to the library in order to find out some information that we needed. Or to go to the nearest bank for making a money transfer. Or wait two weeks before reading a letter that was sent from across the ocean. Nowadays any of these activities and much more, are virtually instantaneous, thanks to the unprecedented developments in IT and communications.

However, there is a downside to this, as the intricately designed IT&C products and services are used by more and more people. Lack of awareness regarding online threats can transform the positive advancements into a Pandora’s Box full of devious malicious intents with consequences to the security of sensitive personal data such as credit card details, identity or content of e-mail accounts. They say that best protection is abstinence. Nevertheless, this cannot apply to a world where interconnectivity has reached a point of no return.

The good news is that this downside can be minimized and avoided. The following tips intent to provide thorough information about how to do that, and how to enjoy the advantages of technology without the inherent risks.

The World Wide Web is not a dangerous space per se. Responsible use and awareness cam make the difference, the same way as they do for any other activity involving potential risks.

E-mail security

Besides the general rules (using anti-virus software, anti-spyware and firewall, updating operating system and third party applications and so on) there are some particular guidelines for safe e-mailing. Use e-mail auto-replies with caution. Auto-replies may confirm to spammers that your e-mail address is valid and active. They also inform thieves that you are not home. […]

General guidelines in minimizing risks

Even if not navigating the Internet, if your computer has an active Internet connection it is potentially vulnerable. The following are general factors in minimizing the risks: Use and keep your security software (i.e. anti-virus program) up to date and turned on. Many users switch off their real-time protection to gain some speed, but safety […]

How to check if my security product is working properly?

You should only have one antivirus product with real-time protection (RTP) enabled. Real-time protection is the permanent guard function that watches files being downloaded or copied onto your computer, and takes action if a malicious program is detected. If you have two programs both trying to do this at the same time, conflict can result. […]

How to configure my browser for higher security?

A browser is the main porthole for viewing the web and, more than that, a live tool that allows you to interact with it. While surfing the web, many times searching for content has priority compared to safety (which is a bad idea). However, in order to compensate this flaw, there are some things you […]

How to prevent and repair browser hijacking?

Browser hijacking means that a malicious code has taken over and modified the settings of your browser, without your permission. There are several ways a hijacking software can reach a computer. It may come as part of a freeware installation that is supported by adware or spyware, so always read carefully the disclaimers appearing during […]

How to safeguard/protect my mobile phone?

Unprecedented connectivity of modern mobile phones brings along the same risks as with laptops or home computers as well as any device that benefits from an Internet connection. Smartphones today collect an impressive amount of personal data, from the privacy sensitive (photos, SMSs, personal documents) to the security sensitive (online banking data, financial or personal […]

How to safely configure my WLAN at home?

Wireless LANs can be both targets and weapons as far as hackers are concerned. A poorly secured WLAN can be exploited into gaining access to a computer, as well as a rogue access point can pose as a legitimate/trusted one and trick users into associating with it, providing hackers with a means to manipulating data. […]

My website has been hacked – what should I do?

There are several ways a hacker can attack a website, exploiting poorly executed security policies or taking advantage of unattended vulnerabilities. (See also Online safety for website owners). The attack can be internal or external, often using spam or malware to achieve the purpose. Currently, browsers such as Google Chrome issue a malware warning for […]

Online safety for website owners

There are several common website security threats: Malicious software can be used to steal passwords, hack into ill-secured websites or computers and so on. If your site allows uploads, keep in mind that uploaded files may not always be what they seem. An anti-virus software is needed to check the files. Lack of data validation. […]

Online vulnerability starts with human vulnerability.

Online vulnerability starts with human vulnerability. Think twice before you click To understand Internet attacks, why and how they work, we have to look into a far more familiar concept: human nature. The cyber-criminal is nowadays driven by money. He/she exploits human vulnerabilities before doing so with computer vulnerabilities. Be wary of any ”too-good-to-be-true” offer […]

Rogue security software (fake or rogue Anti-Virus)

Rogue security software poses a growing threat to computer security. Basically, it is a form of Internet fraud that uses malicious code in an attempt to deceive users into paying for a fake removal of malware. In that sense, rogue security software can be considered a form of ransomware or scareware (malicious code that affects […]

Safe file download

Be aware of what you download. Check the file name to verify its consistency with what you expected (for example a media file should end in .avi and not .exe). Refrain from downloading unknown files from questionable websites that promise good times for free (cracked software, pornography and so on). Assess the website where the […]

Safe online banking

It’s all right to say that safe online banking starts with safe offline banking. Your bank will never ask for your PIN number, and this stays the same with online banking. It is never too much when it comes to emphasize the importance of not giving away your credit card details to anyone else. Extra […]

Safe online gaming

When online gaming, do not reveal your personal information. Be wary of users offering you cheats for the game – they can be (and often are) malware in disguise. If the game requires your information to create your account, be vigilant with your credit card activity (permanently check for any unexpected changes). Some games require […]

Safe social networking

Too much information. Online as well as offline there is such a thing as “too much information”. While social media is a powerful trend that plays various roles – from meeting the need to socialize to acting as a broad communication and organizing tool – users should be aware of the quality and quantity of […]

Safe streaming/progressive download

When you watch online videos that play directly from the Internet (streaming) or download to a temporary location on your computer (progressive download) there is a risk of adware or even malware infection, both from the website and from the file itself. Actively research for and use trusted and legitimate websites as your source of […]

Web navigation

Some Internet threats try to access your computer when you are surfing or navigating websites on the Internet. Several online activities need your extra-caution in order to avoid falling victim to a malicious website. Pharming is a relatively new malicious technique directed to stealing personal information and sensitive data. It is similar to phishing but eliminates […]

What should I do to prevent being sniffed while using a public WLAN?

Wireless hotspots have significantly changed the way people work. Due to public hotspots we can work while traveling, or while enjoying a coffee at the favorite terrace restaurant. Any device equipped with a wireless card (laptop, notebook, tablet, smartphone and so on) can access public hotspots and benefit from high speed Internet connections. From free […]