Newbie tips to securing a computer?

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Newbie tips to securing a computer?

Postby PainRack » 2012-02-28 09:27am

I been...... negligant in past few years regarding protecting my computer, and well, since I gotten a smartphone recently and got involved with phone banking along with internet banking, well...... the need for security against viruses and other malware became important again.

Especially after my pal detected a virus on my USB and I suspect my hospital is both a source and vulnerable to shit from my com. And my Dwarf Fortress files recently got deleted after a virus scan sweep.

So..... how does one easily protect one com from the nasties? I'm running Avira with the active scan, windows firewall, and I'm using the old Windows XP as an OS. Any malware programs out there to recommend?
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Re: Newbie tips to securing a computer?

Postby TheFeniX » 2012-02-28 11:16am

For your smartphone, Lookout will scan any apps you download for malware. If you're keeping banking information on your phone, at the least you should setup a random PIN to unlock the phone for use. If your phone is stolen or lost, this would at least keep the uninitiated from accessing your phone without wiping it and your data. Make sure to lock/encrypt/don't keep anything important on your MicroSD card as well. There are also apps out there that lock away your "business" (or anything you deem extremely valuable) away from your standard phone use. So, you aren't hassled as much with day to day use, but if someone steals your phone, they only have access to phone-calls and/or your personal address book/e-mail. Company e-mail, phone numbers, information, or really anything you want to lock away is encrypted and inaccessible.

For the home computer, I've made it by with Microsoft Security Essentials and not clicking on links/going to websites that look suspicious (McAfee Site Advisor is actually a decent tool for this, which is insane considering the company). Firefox has add-ons like Adblock and NoScript and I'm sure other browsers do as well. If you want to go further, XPs EFS encryption is easy to setup and quite secure. Just make sure to back up your security key in the event your profile/Windows is corrupted. It should go without saying, but keep your software up to date as often as possible, including programs like Office, your web browser, Java, Flash, E-mail client, etc. Many programs can run scripts or other malicious code.

Password your computer and include password requirements after the PC has been inactive. Not really to stop thieves (because it's extremely easy to reset a Windows password), but because friends, family, and anyone else will unintentionally fuck your computer up given half a chance.

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Re: Newbie tips to securing a computer?

Postby TronPaul » 2012-02-28 11:22am

I've not heard of Avira. I use Avast for anti-virus. It's free and it has a few features I really enjoy. I've also heard good things about Kaspersky but I have not tried it.

Windows firewall's added security is rather poor. I always turn it off because it's more annoying than helpful, but it does provide a bit of protection.

I'd say the most important part of securing your computer is understanding who and what you can trust. For example, if you can't trust the computers at the hospital you should always scan your flash drive when you plug it into your own computer. Avast will auto scan removable media, and most anti-virus programs should as well.

This also applies to web security. Be wary of pdfs in emails especially where you don't recognize the email. Make sure when filling out web forms that you are on a site you trust. I would also suggest using a script blocking plugin like NoScript. NoScript will block javascript, flash and other applications from loading on webpages until you whitelist or temporarily allow them. I highly suggest running a script blocking plugin, it makes web browsing even on shadier sights much safer.

Finally XP is not being updated for vulnerabilities. I'd say update to Windows 7 if you can. If can't or don't want to, just remember that you need to be much more careful because of the lack of updates.
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Re: Newbie tips to securing a computer?

Postby evilsoup » 2012-02-28 12:34pm

On top of what everyone else has said: Windows runs as an administrator account by default. Make sure you use a limited user account for day-to-day stuff, and switch to the admin account only to install stuff.
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Re: Newbie tips to securing a computer?

Postby DudeGuyMan » 2012-02-29 03:45am

Get Firefox and run AdBlock, FlashBlock, and especially NoScript. Don't let every shady-ass advertising company on the internet execute god knows what on you.

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