Online security and privacy are dream these days. It's too difficult to maintain your anonymity or privacy on the internet if not impossible. Security is also in the same way. It's also a common thinking that you must have to go with professional paid software and support to maintain your online as well as offline security and privacy.
With involvement in your daily life on social networks, communication on email, photos on Picassa, files in the cloud and everything on the virtual network its too difficult to maintain this clutter without following better steps to secure your online and offline presence.
This guide will give you easy steps to maintain your online security and privacy. The other thing strictly followed in this guide is all software and services mentioned here are ONLY FREE software. No any paid or trial version software is discussed here. Give your 20 minutes and most of the concerns will be covered here.
Whenever you are not connected to the internet, it's some relief to your computer security. You just have to care about the thing you personally are doing. This includes installation of various software, data transfer from various memory devices like pen drive, optical media.
So what are the steps you should follow to be secure?
This is the most common thing and everyone knows about it but what everyone not aware is to update the virus definition database which is a big mistake in using any security software. Your software engine as well as the definition database must be updated. What you can do is keep the Auto update option in your antivirus software ON.
- Avast:: Avast is a most famous and favorite Free antivirus solution world wide and also give the same level of security any other paid antivirus. Avast is light on system resources, easy to use and free. Users have to fill the registration form provided in the software itself and click on submit to validate the forever free license. It automatically updates itself wherever you connect to the internet.
- Download Avast from Homepage HERE. ( A Select Free Antivirus option not the PRO or Internet security) Or Directly from HERE
- Another good free option for antivirus are Avira (Download) and Microsoft Security Essentials (Download)
- Avira is a good alternative to Avast but give more False Positive warnings and may interrupt the common work. It is also an irritating for basic users.
- Microsoft Security Essential is also a better option. It is well integrated with system and works silently. You can use it better alternative.
Firewalls is a wall between you and the rest of the world. Keeping this wall strong to protect yourself is important While anti-virus software scans incoming email and files, a firewall is like a guard, watching for attempts to access your system and blocking communications with sources you don't permit.
The built-in firewall of Windows is not sufficient to protect you, you must install a good Firewall.
- Comodo Firewall: Comodo is popular for Firewall though now it offers antivirus and other solutions. The standalone firewall is a great solution to your firewall need. It has Auto Sandbox technology and cloud based activity monitor support. It is very easy to use that anyone can understand how to use it.
- Download Comodo Firewall from HERE.
- There are other options available for firewall like ZoneAlarm and BufferZone. BufferZone is really a simple to use even simpler than Comodo. But if you want a specialist, Comodo is best.
Spyware is a form of malicious software that monitors your activities and can potentially collect your personal information and send it to the predefined address without your knowledge. The data it collects may include your key-loggers, passwords, internet activity monitoring data and anything. Having a Andtispyware is an additional benefit.
- There are many good AntiSpyware software available like Spybot Search and Destroy (Download) best one in this category.
Oh my God, how many software you have to install? Let's find out.
- Avast is a free and specialize in Antivirus, where as Comodo firewall is a specialist of Firewall. Spybot is a specialist in antispyware.
- You can get the best combination of all these three functions in Microsoft Security Essentials.
- You can also use Avast + Comodo Firewall which has other functions like sandboxing and malicious activity monitor by any software which can give you better security against Spyawres.
- Another option is to use Comodo Internet Security (Free) which has all these functions ( Antivirus + Firewall + Antispyware )
No any security software will save you if you are using an outdated web browser like IE 6. You can use any available browser like Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, or Internet Explorer. Keep your browser up to date. All these browsers have hot updates enabled so you don't have to bother about updating the small updates only keep track of major releases.
- If you are using Firefox or Chrome, you must install following extensions to protect your online security.
- Web Of Trust This is a community based website reputation tool. It's a must have for everyone and alert you if you are browsing a site having bad back records.
- Close ‘n’ Forget – Very simple Firefox extension that closes the current tab and make Firefox forget about the visit: suppressing cookies related to the current page, cleaning the browser history and so on.
While you Browse
- Always have HTTPS enabled for every site you use. Most of the sites like Google, Facebook, Twitter have the HTTPS option available. You just have to enable it.
- Never download software from unknown sources or bad reputation site (Web of Trust extension will help) or from unknown Torrents.
- Never try to download serials or keys of the software.
- Always use a separate email address for personal + banking + shopping + other important activities and separate for social networks and other online activities.
- Keep your password Strong yet easy to remember and don't use same ID passwords for different sites.
- Enable 2 step verification for GMail and Multiple Sing-In for two or more GMail accounts for easy switching between two accounts.
- Also enable 2 step verification for other popular web services. These services have 2 step verification facility: Facebook, Microsoft All accounts like Skydrive, Outlook and other, Dropbox, Yahoo!. Enable it.
- Check what applications are accessing your Social networks with Great Service MY Permissions
- Clear all unwanted email notifications from various social networks with Notification Control
A bait, most probably an email message is sent to you, so that you fall pray to the link inserted in the message that is not a genuine link but looks more similar to the expected.
When you click on the link, you will be taken to the malicious website where it asks you to log in credentials and when you do that, your account is hacked.
Take an example: you may get an email saying that your bank account is suspended and you need to take quick action to avoid penalty or avoid suspension and there will be some time limit to do the necessary action. It asks you to click on the bank website link given in the email and log in to your online banking account.
- In this case, the sender tries to pressure you by giving time limit and the email looks as if it is sent from the authorized website.
- Never click on the link / URL in the email. Type it yourself or from your bookmarks.
- Be more cautious when entering credentials like passwords, credit card numbers or other such sensitive information and always double check the URL of the page before you enter the data.
- If you are giving such information, Check for httpS again.
- Never use Free Wi-Fi, unknown hotspot, if the website is not httpS, as all the data can be traced.
- Banks never send such emails and never ask for the log in credentials.
Trojans are softwares those behave like a good guy but in the background do the bad work very silently, without any visible change in system activity. The most of the time, Trojans install a key-logger, keystroke recorder software and record everything you type and then sent all that recorded data to the respective server without your notice. You keep using the other side of that software and feel good.
What to do?
- It is really difficult to track the Trojan but Firewall can come to your help and track inappropriate activity.
- You can always check which application is sending and receiving the data over the network.
- Never download softwares from unknown sources.
Use Password Manager Software
- It's quite difficult for most of the people to accept the idea of using special software to manage password and other log-in info. But more you get online, the clutter of passwords, bookmarks, email address and other thing increase and so we tend to use the same passwords everywhere. Start using it. The best option available is KeePass Password Safe. It's open source, proven security, encryption control and everything you want. It's great and should not be compared with any paid or free competition. KeePass Homepage.
- Knowledge is the Power. If you are interested in protecting yourself online or want to help others keep their identities safe consider a computer science degree online.