It was reported this week that Symantec, maker of Norton Antivirus, was hacked by an Indian hacker group off a Indian military server. Symantec officials assure the public that only some older versions of their anti-virus coding was leaked and that these versions could not operate on any newer systems. While the fall-out of this is going to remain to be seen, just in our small part of the world we know of at least a few systems that are running the versions of software that were stolen.
It just goes to prove a point that no matter what software you use you can never be to safe. There is always a risk anytime a system is online in any format. We are not recommending in any way shape or form that you don’t browse the web or perform your day to day activities. This post will help you understand security and help you to protect yourself.
Lets start with the basics. If you browse the internet for any period of time, have an email or a Facebook then you most certainly have a password. Your password is your first line of defense to hackers on the web. Here is a list of the top 24 used / hacked passwords:
First let us say if you are using one of these password, please go change it now. This report is generated yearly by the IC3. It is strongly recommended that you choose a password that is very strong. A combination of capital letters, lower case letters, numbers and if possible special characters (not all places allow this, but if they do please use them). You will want to have a password that is at least 8 characters long.
Here is a couple of examples of nice strong passwords: W5KEROcg OR N@H4sZf1
There are many programs out there to generate and store passwords. We recommend using KeePass. It is freely available online.
Next we recommend you use a good anti-virus software. We recommend Avast, however there are many out there. You can freely install a version of Avast but to obtain real security we advise that you spend the small amount to purchase the full version. The cost is not that much, but the benefits can strongly outweigh that cost. For example in the full version of Avast you get a piece of software called Web-Rep, which can display pages that are safe to visit in your browser when doing internet searches on Google and other search engines.
Along those lines we should discuss purchases online. We understand that it is a very convenient thing to do and you can get next to anything if not everything online. Our cautions here are simple, make sure you know what site you are on. Confirm the website address in your address bar, if it does not match do not enter your password or any log-on details. Make sure you trust any website you put your information into, especially credit card info. If you don’t know the site, do some research before signing up. Beware of false reviews, a lot of scammer sites will try to put out false good reviews to help build trust.
Create a second “junk” email for signing up for things that you are not sure about. Use strong passwords that are not the same everywhere, and use a good trusted anti-virus. Keep you system up to date with all the latest patches. These patches help prevent hackers from entering security holes that may be in your system.
Above all, be safe. If you have questions, or if your computer is acting funny, then by all means please contact us. We would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.