Staying Safe Online

December 19, 2018 | Views: 3409

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Understanding the internet

In order to make something safe and secure, one needs to be aware of the threats. In this article I will explain my personalized steps to greatly increase your online security.

Passwords

This cannot be mentioned enough. The very first thing we do after installing a system on a platform is to create a good and strong password. We need a barrier to keep intruders out from systems they are not supposed to be on.
So how do I make a good one?
Well, there are tons of great passwords ranging from 7 characters to over 32 characters long. However, instead of asking for a common good password, you have to be aware of how easy they might be to crack. «Fac3book12354» Is a fair password. It contains lowercase, capital letters, and numbers. However, it would be a complete suicide mission if you were to use it on your actual Facebook user. If you are smart you would use different passwords on different sites with no relation to you or the website. This comes down to my point where you have to realise where the password is being used. A few minutes of brute-force with a good wordlist and bam- easily cracked.

Not only is it enough with a password! What if it did get cracked and you have got quite important files in your storage? This is where the Two-Factor-Authentication comes in. It is a second barrier where you need a code or second action to log in. They are easy to use as well.

I made a neat and structured summary of how long it takes for a program to figure out a password beneath:

Symbols

 

Length

Time

abc, ABC

4 characters

1 min –

abc, ABC

7 characters

24 days

abc, ABC, 123, !»#

4 characters

1 min +

abc, ABC, 123, !»#

7 characters

10 months

This is an estimation with about 500000 tries per second with the ASCII alphabet.

Usage of Social Media

We got the passwords covered, but if you are still giving out enough information then you could still be at risk- Not only account theft, but why not Identity Theft as well?

You can start by reviewing your profiles. Go through the information you have submitted and change your settings so you know only those you trust can see it. This can be things like changing Instagram from public to private or changing Facebook publicity settings. Remember to do this approximately once every few months.

Speaking of Facebook, it is one of the best resources for social engineers. It allows you to publish where you live, your education, your family members, full name, address, age, telephone number and so on.
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Even if you are familiar with the internet and you feel like you are starting to get a hang of it, do not get fooled. There are many fake websites, links, accounts and advertisements that claim to be trustworthy. It is very important that you keep in mind that being scammed or phished is one of the most common threats online. If you see a website have https:// and a lock, it’s a safe site. That being said, keep your fingers to yourself and your mind sharp.

Backup and Encryption

If you feel like having a secure password, no information public whatsoever and still feel paranoid, we will take it up a notch. Here are three more options: Save personal files, encrypt them and hide your location.

Backup

Your grandma just got her first Wi-Fi system up and running. She has no idea how to use it, but at least she appreciates her grandchildren being able to. Her passwords and network keys have been written down for later use. To make sure she does not lose them we have to make a structure- and with that structure, we have to make a copy- a backup.
A backup ensures that whatever happens to the files or specific information, you will always have a second copy on your hand. This is extremely useful if a hacker infects your computer with a virus and it deletes that one file your grandma had her Wi-Fi password on.

Encryption

However, if you are scared that not even a backup can save your paranoia, encrypting your disk or USB seems like a good option. Windows 10 has an built-in feature called BitLocker. You choose a password that will be used to encrypt the disk. If you choose to do this, you will have to unlock the disk if you want to use it after a restart. This means that as long as it is encrypted and locked, no one will be able to view its contents, which results in a good and secure database.

Secure connection

Now, the great question: What is the difference between Proxy and VPN?
It is actually ten times easier than you think. Let me put it in an easy comparement for you:

Proxy

VPN

Does not support encryption

Encrypts connections and secures traffic

Hides IP address

Hides IP address

Easy to find free ones

Harder to find free ones

Might not work efficiently on phone or tablet

Flexible on many platforms

Slow due to many users

Quicker due to better quality

So to put this in a summary for you; Proxies are awesome when bypassing IPs or simply hiding your location, but they might not be very secure and stable. VPNs, on the other hand, are super if you want an encrypted connection and traffic, but their quality comes with a price making them hard to find free.

Computer maintenance

You will not always know whether you have been infected or not, because it is just like a disease- not all of them have clear symptoms even though they are there. However, there are a few signs depending on which type of malicious software there is.

Here are some common signs:

  • A slowed performance
  • Pop-ups and other ads that come without any actual user action
  • Sudden crashes that happen frequently
  • Any changes to settings of homepage, interface or such
  • Increase of internet traffic (if you’re able to take a look)
  • Security barriers being automatically disabled

To ensure that we do not stumble upon any of these signs of malware, it is important to keep your system clean and healthy. Often when hackers try to get into systems, it is because they have learned how to exploit old software. This is exactly why it is super important to keep your software and firmware updated at all times.

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