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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Online Privacy and Tor

Using Tor (The Onion Router) for Online Privacy

In my last post I shared some tips for increasing your browser security, and recommended FireFox for your browsing. Even though FireFox can be setup to send out requests that websites do not track you, other websites do not have to honor this request.

One of your other options to increase your online privacy is to use the Tor Browser. When you browse using Tor, the information you send is encrypted and your IP address is also hidden.

One important thing to note is that simply using the Tor browser is not completely secure, so you may want to do your research before using it.

There are also couple of disadvantages to this method. First, in order to keep your information private, you probably should not use browser add-ons, such as Flash. Steaming in general is not optimized in Tor, because of the way it connects, and you will probably notice slower speeds.

The video from Eli the Computer Guy goes into a little more detail about Tor, but if you would like more information please leave me a comment.



Monday, May 9, 2016

Protecting Your Online Privacy Part 2

Setting Up Your Browser for Better Privacy

In my last post we examined why online privacy should be important to you. The first thing you can do to help protect your online privacy is to change your browser settings. If you're using a PC, Firefox would be a good browser to start with, since you can request that sites do not track you. Please note that this option is not enabled by default, and it is only a request; websites do not have to honor it. If you would like to know how to change privacy options in another browser please leave me a comment and I will write a post on it.
 


You can download Firefox at https://www.mozilla.org 

And here is a good article on PC World that will guide you through setting your privacy settings: PC World FireFox Privacy Settings

Since the do not track requests may not be honored by the websites you vist, you may want to consider some stronger online privacy options. Two options are using third party browser add-ons or using Tor browser, which purposefully hides your identity from other computer. I will explain these options in future blog posts, as well as some of the pros and cons.


Friday, May 6, 2016

Protecting Your Online Privacy

You are Being Watched!

In 2016 it probably doesn't come as a surprise to most people anymore that you may have very little or no privacy online these days. Considering how many people volunteer their personal information on Facebook, for example, maybe online privacy is not a big public concern. Should we be concerned about it? I think so, and I consider privacy a part of online security. One common conception is something along the lines of "If you're not doing anything wrong, you don't have to worry." I've never thought this argument really completely holds up to logic, so I'd like to share a TED Talks video with you from Glenn Greenwald that examines this privacy topic in more depth:




If you agree with Glenn Greenwald, and your online privacy is something you consider important, you will want to check out my next blog post for some steps you can take, and free tools to to help protect this aspect of your online security. If you would like to explore the online privacy topic more in depth, please feel free to leave comments and I will be happy to cover this topic more in future posts.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Increase Your Browser Security for Free (Part 1)

Browser Security and Why you should utilize it:

You might be asking yourself why you would need any additional browser security tools, especially if you already have an antivirus program. The most important reason to consider additional protection is that your antivirus program may not adequately protect you against exploits, tools that are purposefully built to take advantage of a vulnerability in your operating system or another program you use.

If the exploit becomes publicly known it will usually be patched by the developers. Before the exploit becomes public knowledge it increases your risk of malware infection and data theft. In order to take advantage of exploit patches it is important to keep your operating system and other programs updated. 

Fortunately for us, there is a free tool that can add an extra layer of security and help protect against exploits that are not yet public knowledge: MalwareBytes Anti Exploit Free guards against malicious behavior, rather than relying on a malware signature base, like standard antivirus programs use. This offers you better protection against unknown exploits. Download Anti Exploit Free at Bleeping Computer

If you've found my blog helpful please share it and leave me comments for questions or suggestions. I will be sharing another free tool to increase your data security tomorrow.



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

More Free Tools to improve PC Security

Your antivirus program may not be enough. 

Yesterday I shared my three favorite free antivirus programs, as well as a video testing all three of them. But it's important to note that an antivirus program is may not enough to adequately protect your PC from malware. All three of the free antivirus programs I mentioned in my last post are pretty good at detecting viruses, but I prefer to have at least one backup to find any malware that may have got past my antivirus. One great secondary malware defense is Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free:






The free Malwarbytes version does not scan automatically, so you will need to remember to scan manually. When you download it, you can choose either the free version or do a free trial of the paid version, which will include more features, but is not necessary, in my opinion, although the cost is actually pretty reasonable. If you want the convenience of an all-in-one security suite, then you might consider trying out the paid version. I posted a YouTube video from mrizos testing out the free version called "MalwareBytes vs Malware" if you would like to see some results for yourself. Check out my blog tomorrow for more free tools to improve your PC security (you can subscribe on the main page with your email for automatic notifications).