Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Security on the internet

Being secure on the internet is no simple  task, especially in this day and age.
We live in a world where everybody has secrets, and everyone wants to know what
everyone else is hiding. The internet has become a haven for hackers, crackers
and salesmen.

Allow me to explain this last point. For years the internet has been used to
communicate, to reach people in far away places in an instant. When someone
discovered he could use it to sell product to people it changed the world. On the
positive side of things, mankind could now do all there shopping from the
luxury of their own homes.  But there was a dark side to this as well.
Advertising crept onto the net and websites began to store information, simply so
they could sell even more product to you. We will look at ways of preventing this

I talked earlier about hackers. That's right, on the internet, there are people
out there who are out to get you. Freelance, individually hired hackers who work
against individuals, and massive organizations like the hacker group Anonymous,
which does as they please, though always for a cause. These are people against
whom we need protection, and we should stop at nothing to get it.

The first thing we should look at is how anonymous are YOU online? Chances are
you use a few simple passwords, have minimal restrictions on your Facebook page
and use a simple browser like Google Chrome. I'm not saying any of this is bad,
I'm saying it could be better. Let me quickly teach you a few tips and I
guarantee you'll' feel a lot safer.

First off lets take a look at passwords. Did you know that the most popular
password is '123456'? That's really easy to crack using todays standards. Even
something like 'yellowcat12' is simple to crack. When websites give that advice
about using numbers, letters, symbols and capital letters, they are trying to
help you out. That is advice that should be followed. Another tip is to not use
words that can be found in a dictionary. Hackers use software to try all of these
words in mere minutes and can crack even the toughest passwords. I'll quickly
show you my password setting technique below using our previous example,
'yellowcat12', as a starting point:

***I would advise that you don't use birthdays or names in your passwords***

Start with: yellowcat12
Flip part of the word: wolleycat12 (I flipped the word yellow backwards)
Add some symbols: wolley_cat(12)
Add capital letters:  wOllEy_cAt(12) (I chose to capitalize vowels)

Your new password is: wOllEy_cAt(12). This is a complex enough password that it
would take years to crack. You would safely be able to use it on any number of
sites, though I would recommend making 3 or 4 such passwords. Another important
thing to note that this should never match your online banking password, which
should be at least 20 digits long and used for nothing except banking.

Now lets take a look at your social media pages. Chances are you share photos of
yourself, your kids and your family. You post about your day, and life in
general. But how much personal information do you post? Who is it visible to? If
the wrong information is visible to the wrong people, bad things can happen
because of it. So lets just take a look at our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
settings. Any social media has an option to limit who can see what you post.
There needs to be no wiggle room in these settings. No mutual friends viewing
your posts, nothing. Otherwise all  your private information is visible  to some
potentially not very friendly people.

My favorite thing about the topic of internet security is web browsers. There are
so many available that its tough to choose the right one. Personally I have two
recommendations. Tor, which is housed in Mozilla Firefox, allows access to the
DarkNet, and leaves your location and personal data completely untraceable, and
Google Chrome. This second choice is a bit more confusing. Chrome is by no means
the safest browser. But it can be, if you use it correctly. Here are the steps to
making Google Chrome a super secure way to browse the net:

1) Set DuckDuckGo as your default homepage
2) Install  Zenmate, Adblock and Ghostery as Chrome addons

That's all! Those simple settings will improve chrome drastically! DuckDuckGo, is
 a secure search engine that does not trace your data. Zenmate is an addon that
scrambles your location (also unblocking all websites at work or at school),
Adblock does just as the name implies, removing all ads from Chrome, and Ghostery
stops websites from storing and tracking your cookies (little bits of data and

My final bit of advice would be to tell Chrome not to store your passwords. If it
does, anyone can turn on your computer, click a few buttons, and have all your
passwords at their fingertips.

Good luck and stay secure!


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