Archive for security

Virus & Malware protection … Which one?

mb-logo[1]I get a lot of people asking my recommendations on virus protection these days. I think people think as I am a web developer, that loosely means I am available to chat about anything tech related.

I tend to try a few different virus scanners, mainly free ones, but have noticed a trend with the free virus protection available. Free scanners tend to pop up annoying ads or other products that they wish to on sell to you.

It really gets to the point where you wonder whats more annoying, the viruses or the software that is meant to protect you from them?

Another annoyance is speed. Is the virus protection is going to slow down my laptop and prevent me from getting work done, then what’s the point!

For a few months I surfed the net sans-virus protection. All the sites I visit are currently safe, so I should be fine, right?

I wasn’t till a few months later I had to fix a computer of a friend who managed to get a particular nasty piece of Malware on their machine. These new nasties are referred to as ransomware. They corrupt all of your files and then give you instructions on where to pay the ransom to get a key to recover your files. If you don’t pay their ransom within a specified time the amount doubles. The files are encrypted making them virtually impossible to crack without the key.

What troubles me about this, is if you do pay the ransom, you have no idea where the money is going to. You could be funding terrorists without your knowledge! If you are reading this, one important tip for right know is to use online storage such as OneDrive and Dropbox for all your photos and documents. This way if you ever get something like this you can get your files back from the cloud as it saves a revised copy.

After seeing how many things my friend lost due to carelessness I got back into using a virus scanner. The one I picked was a free one which is ad free and runs seamlessly with Windows 7. It’s no surprise that the virus scanner I picked is Microsoft Security Essentials!

But that alone just doesn’t get the job done. I am also using MalwareBytes. It is by far the best protection for Malware and Spyware that MSE misses. I started with the free version, but swapped to the paid version as it ticked all the boxes and was very cost effective. Plus the paid version gives you the real time protection to stop Malware at the source.

Using the two combined has worked for me and I haven’t noticed any real drop in the speed of my laptop.

Internet Passwords 101

online security

One thing I am quite passionate about is security. With the amount of data I am entrusted with and the amount of online accounts I have to setup it is important to have a good system in place.

What I have found to be the best way to keep everything in order is to use a Google Spreadsheet to keep all passwords.

I have quite a lot of different spreadsheets for various groups of passwords e.g. FTP or Website credentials, social media accounts, personal websites etc.

The great thing about Google’s spreadsheets are that they are:

  • Perfect for collaboration with trusted team members.
  • Flexible as I can access them from anywhere with internet access.
  • Secure.

A hacker would have to be able to first determine which Google account these passwords were saved on, and possibly reset my password to be able to gain access. I would be notified if the password was changed.

Now my standard business spreadsheets consists of about 5 rows.

  • Client – To be able to find the info I need as quickly as possible.
  • Type of login – FTP, cPanel, WordPress etc.
  • URL – What the URL or IP is to gain access
  • Username.
  • Password
  • Additional Info – Notes that may help me remember things about this login.

I am starting to use a password generator to make the credentials as secure as possible when I create logins to avoid any simple passwords like qwerty123 etc.

Some would say it is quite foolish to publish this information online, but I am that confident of my methods that I will sleep tonight knowing my data is secure.

Hopefully this post will help someone else that is faced with a similar predicament. Using cloud based solutions such as Google Drive will help you in the event of a computer crash as your passwords will still be in the cloud, not just on a spreadsheet on your PC.