Category Archives: Security

How Do You Create and Manage Passwords?

Amer Alharbi wrote:

What is the best way for you to creat a password and manage your password, for me I use 1password and I also write It in piece of paper.

I’m glad you asked, Amer! I’ve discussed password creation and management many times over the years. However, now – more than ever before – it’s CRUCIAL that we all have very strong passwords. You need a different password for every site you use, and it needs to be SECURE. Because of this, it’s not really an option to use a password manager of some type… it’s pretty much MANDATORY.

And, of course, enabling 2fa is extremely recommended whenever possible.

You wouldn’t want some idiot stealing your information, would you?

The Best Anti-Virus for Windows Computers

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Vipre for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

The Best Anti-Virus for Windows ComputersToday I’m announcing the second winner of my giveaway for a one-year license to the 2013 edition of VIPRE Internet Security. I already gave away a license to a lucky LockerGnome reader who had commented to my initial post about the Internet security software, announcing the winner in Tuesday’s followup post. Before I announce the winner, I want to let you know why I now believe this solution to be the best anti-virus for Windows PCs.

Is Your Windows PC Well-Protected?

Viruses, malware, spam: these are the bane of all computer users, especially those who use Windows. The reason is obvious: Windows is the most-used operating system, and that makes it a popular target for programmers who enjoy messing with other people’s lives. I’ll admit, there have been times when I’ve wished I had the programming chops to work up a script that would wreak havoc on somebody else’s system. Vengeful thoughts such as these entered my mind more often when I was younger and more sensitive to the character assassinations some trolls directed at me. I’m older now, I have a thicker skin, and I’m more experienced — and I now understand just how devastating viruses can be. Having your home system infected or your Web server attacked due to the efforts of a script kiddie is not simply a nuisance, but it can seriously have an impact on a person’s livelihood.

Not all script kiddies are bad, and some of them grow up to be skilled practitioners at the craft of programming. Many of the more skilled programmers among them even join the ranks of the computer security elite. That is, they decide at some point that it’s far more interesting to employ their knowledge of how to exploit a system’s vulnerabilities to the benefit, rather than to the detriment, of humankind. Sure, it’s fun to hack things — many in my mastermind group are intensely curious about how things work, and benevolent hacking is one of the many topics that come up within the community. Simple workarounds in order to enable a program to run on a system it wasn’t explicitly intended to run on can be rightfully referred to as hacks.

Scripts designed to take down systems, however, can not only cost a person both time and money, but they can literally destroy lives. I’m not joking around here. Imagine a new pet owner who has heard that certain foods regularly consumed by people have the potential to injure or even kill pets. Imagine this pet owner comes home from work to find the box of chocolates left on the coffee table empty. A few moments later, this person finds their pet, a lovely little dog, curled up in a ball in its favorite hiding spot, his tiny body shaking and clearly in distress. This pet owner fires up his nearest computer, opens up his browser, and heads to his veterinarian’s website in order to discover its emergency phone number, only to find that the website has been attacked and brought down by malicious hackers. So now this pet owner must race to find another solution, searching the Web or jumping in his car (if he owns one) to race his dog to the vet in the hopes that he’ll be able to save his dog’s life.

Am I being overly dramatic? Does this seem like a far-fetched scenario to you? Believe me, hacktivists (hacker activists) have engaged in malicious attacks on the websites of whichever businesses, large or small, they’ve determined they don’t like. Some of the sites they’ve compromised have resulted in problems for thousands of people — hundreds of thousands (and in the case of larger businesses, maybe millions) — who daily rely on the resources these sites have to offer. So it shouldn’t seem a stretch to believe that some disgruntled former employee of a veterinarian’s office with some minor scripting skills would be able to bring down the business’ website. It is essential for consumers, many of them small business owners running one version of Windows or another, to have the best protection available for their system(s).

How is VIPRE the Best Anti-Virus for Windows Computers?

The most competitive factor among anti-virus applications is the ability to keep the latest malicious software from infecting computers. It’s true that developers of computer security programs have to make a product that provides a great user experience and performs well (in this case, by “performing well” I mean that it doesn’t noticeably impact the other activities you’re doing with your computer, such as ripping a CD or compressing a batch of images into a zipped file you can more easily send to a client via email or Dropbox). But the most well-designed Internet security app isn’t worth a hill of beans (where did that saying come from, I wonder?) if it doesn’t actively track and catch the very latest malware that has been released into the wild by some unscrupulous scripter. So how do you know which program is currently the best at catching malware? By checking the results of independent organizations such as AV-Comparatives and AV-TEST, both institutions that test and compare various software, including security software and its nemesis, malware.

Here is your evidence, then, that VIPRE Internet Security is the best anti-virus for Windows computers. According to AV-Comparatives, the application beats out the competition in important categories, including the detection of actively running widespread malware and the detection of a representative set of malware discovered in the last two or three months. What this indicates is that the utility is on top of malware threats — which isn’t an easy feat. Google reports discovering thousands of new unsafe sites every day. Many of these sites aren’t even intended to be unsafe; they are sites that have been compromised and now represent a threat to visitors. For VIPRE to be able to stay on top of the malware threat speaks volumes about its utility.

Hmm… After trying different Linux distros (Ubuntu, Xubuntu, and Fedora) and after fixing many driver issues, I returned to Windows 7 because of college (compatibility and all…). So with this really compelling offer, I would like to use VIPRE Internet Security 2013.

Zlate Jovanov left that comment to my computer security post a week ago, and is the recipient of one-year license to use VIPRE Internet Security 2013. Congratulations, Zlate!

Test out VIPRE for yourself and let me know what you think!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Computer Security That Doesn’t Slow Down Your Computer

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Vipre for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

TComputer Security That Doesn't Slow Down Your ComputerLast week I installed a better Internet security application than I’d been using on my Windows test system.

As I described at the time, VIPRE Internet Security 2013’s installation process was clear and simple, and my first test of the software’s functionality returned improved results over a competing solution I’d installed prior to testing. I mentioned that I’d be reporting my experience with the computer security program after testing it further. Now that’s I’ve been using VIPRE for a week, here are my findings.

Computer Security That Doesn’t Slow Down My Computer

As I mentioned last week, many anti-virus solutions are notorious for slowing down PCs. This is mainly because much of the computer security software developers feel the need to add what many would say unnecessary features to their software. More features usually results in more resources being used up by the application, in some cases slowing your computer to a crawl. Why do vendors feel the need to continuously add features? Because they want to continue to selling new versions of their software, and they recognize (incorrectly, in some cases) that consumers tend to see the latest versions of an application as somehow improved over prior versions. It’s often necessary to release a new version of software every year or so due to various circumstances.

The introduction of Windows 8, for example, has required many developers to make some major interface changes to their programs so that the software will fit both aesthetically and functionally into the new operating system’s Metro UI. Consumers expect these types of alterations, and most often their pleased when the look and feel of an application matches the look and feel of the OS they’re working with every day. Yet on occasion, developers seem to pay more attention to the overall impression their apps deliver at the cost of functionality.

Computer Security That Doesn't Slow Down Your ComputerIn the case of VIPRE, GFI Software (the developers of the VIPRE line of computer security software) seems to have focused on delivering the best functionality it can to consumers. And in doing this, it turned out a program that is as efficient in appearance as it is in executing its tasks. As I mentioned last week, the software is simple and elegant in appearance. More important, the interface is intuitive — it took me no time at all to dive right in and run a deep scan of my system (which was completed in record time, compared to another app I used).

Over the course of the past week I used my PC more actively than I have in quite some time. I’ve installed a number of new applications, visited some well-known “malicious” websites that have tried to infect my computer through my browser, and VIPRE has caught every instance of a threat to my PC. I’ve played some fairly resource-intensive games on my computer and performed some tasks that I know require some heavy lifting (such as multimedia production). I’m pleased to report that I’ve experienced no noticeable performance hits to my system. Apparently, the programmers at GFI know how to build computer security software that won’t slow down your computer.

VIPRE Includes Enterprise-Level Computer Security Features

TComputer Security That Doesn't Slow Down Your ComputerOne thing I failed to mention in my review last week was a feature I hadn’t known about at the time. VIPRE provides automatic application patching, a feature usually only found in enterprise-level computer security solutions. This is an extremely useful feature to have, since many computer users (even the most cautious and tech-savvy, such as myself) tend to put off installing the latest patches (security fixes) because we’re so wrapped up in other tasks (such as testing out new software).

Though I have my Windows PCs set to automatically download and install the latest patches as soon as they become available, writers of viruses and scripts (programs) take advantage of exploits they find in other popular applications computer users are likely to have installed on their systems. By building in automatic updating of many of the most popular applications VIPRE detects you have installed on your system, GTI Software stands out from the pack of consumer-level anti-virus applications. The program also reminds you to update your software to their latest versions if you haven’t already done so. This proactive approach is comforting, to say the least.

Most consumers have to pay a hefty expense for enterprise-level anti-virus suites in order to take advantage of this feature (and without this feature, many consumers end up paying a hefty expense when their systems become infected because they forgot to update their applications).

Computer Security That Comes at a Fair Price

Computer Security That Doesn't Slow Down Your ComputerAnother thing that I failed to mention last week is the price of the computer security software. One license of VIPRE Internet Security 2013 will set you back $49.99. This is a fair price for everything the program has to offer, but check this out: a license to install the application on up to 10 different PCs costs only $20 more. Now that’s what I call a deal. Many of us have more than one computer system at our disposal, and being able to have all of them protected as thoroughly as this software does for $69.99 is basically unbeatable.

You can even purchase lifetime protection for $299.99, which may sound like a pretty penny if you’re only using two computers, but the cost of losing data due to an infection would cost far more than $300 for most users who rely on their computers. We’re giving away a free 1-year license to VIPRE Internet Security 2013 to a random reader who posts a comment stating why they would use VIPRE as opposed to using nothing at all. So get in on the giveaway and post your comments — you can’t win if you don’t play!

Visit Sponsor's Site

How To Stay Secure While Using Social Media

Add to iTunes | Add to YouTube | Add to Google | RSS Feed

Is location-based social media an incredibly innovative technology that will garner relationships and bring them to the real world, or a creepy way to help evildoers find out where you are, or where you aren’t? One thing is for sure, this new trend is big business and a lot of money is being thrown at companies that are at the forefront.

SchneiderMike knows a thing or two about this latest trend and where it may be headed. In this interview we cover topics including the hype behind Color, security, and the future of location-based social networking.

Tech Interruption is dedicated to arguing about the tech issues of today and trying to predict the future. They have had some pretty serious heavy-hitting guests on their show in the past and tend to focus on what’s hot at any moment in time – which is why they’re so focused on location-based technology right now.

Mike and I were laughing that BlogWorld was happening in the same building at the same time as a book expo. It’s confusing, eh? Who reads books? Mike quickly jumped in to tell me about a recent conversation with his publisher. He would love to see more communication between readers while they are reading. He’d love to see people put notes and treat it more like a community while reading something on your device of choice. I’m surprised someone like Amazon hasn’t thought of this yet.

There’s a group trying to take textbooks to this level – at least on the iPad – but I don’t know about regular old novels. Anyone can publish and sell a book and anyone can read one. There’s just no glue to hold everyone together. There needs to be something ridiculously awesome in order to pull people together in this way.

So how could location-based services be used around books? It might be interesting to see where people are that are reading the same thing you are. It’s hard to peg down what people want to see and know about others, which is why we’re not seeing anything much in the way of “fast” innovation in this area.

People are giving out so much information about themselves. They throw it out there without realizing the possible ramifications. You have to be completely serious and conscious about who you’re pushing your location to online. The most important thing is you – your family, your life and your safety. Before giving out your location to anyone, ask yourself if it is something you need to do and check to see who it’s going out to. What are they going to do with this information? Is it going to bring any value to yourself or others?

Be sure to check out what Mike and the rest of the Tech Interruption team are up to. They’ve got some fantastic work ethics and a lot of passion.

Apple Finally Releases Fix for Mac Defender Malware

Apple was silent for far too long on the matter of the Mac Defender Malware, a Rogue anti-virus application like those seen on Windows machines for the past few years. This type of malware tricks users into thinking they are protecting their computer by displaying false “infection” messages and offering a fix in exchange for money. There have been thousands of reports by irate OS X customers in recent weeks. Many of the people who called Apple support were referred vaguely to the forums for help. It was almost as if Apple didn’t want to have to acknowledge that they are not invulnerable after all.

Late on Tuesday, the Cupertino company finally released a support article which explains how to eradicate this nasty piece of so-called software. The article begins by admitting that a recent scam has targeted their fans by “redirecting them from legitimate websites to fake websites which tell them that their computer is infected with a virus. The user is then offered Mac Defender “anti-virus” software to solve the issue.” The rest of the piece gives detailed instructions on ridding yourself of this pesky problem.

Within the next few days, Apple promises to release an update to OS X which will automagically find and remove Mac Defender and all of its known variants. The update should also help protect users by giving warnings if they download the malware. The problem, as Windows users and security experts know, is that these malware writers pump out newer versions very quickly… which take a while to detect and fix.

Rogue anti-virus programs are quite the lucrative business. According to McAfee, the number of these types of programs has increased by nearly 400% since 2009, causing computer users a loss of about $300 million. I don’t really care if you’re a Mac or Windows fanatic. If something pops up on your screen that you haven’t already installed yourself and then claims you are infected… click NOTHING. Don’t be fooled into downloading or buying anything. Look for a fix immediately, and follow the recommended guidelines. One of the most reputable sites out there which is FULL of guides of this sort is Bleeping Computer. If you have trouble fixing the machine up yourself, their free forums are full of security experts who will gladly help you – for nothing more than your thanks.