Data Security and Your New PC, MAC, or Netbook

I was invited to make some media appearance recently, and I discussed the topic of how to secure your new-for-Christmas-computer.  Feel free to tell others, with a link to this posting.

I gave tips for new PC, MAC and Linux (netbook) users. They are based upon security best practices. You can find the recommended software by going to download.com and/or a search for the company that makes the software recommended. You can do searches for the other recommendations.

Security is not about saying,”STOP!”

It’s about Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability of data. We call that: C-I-A (No, not THAT CIA!)

I gave tips for Windows, Mac and Linux users. My first tips apply to all kinds of computers:
1. Use 15 character or greater passwords with upper and lower case letter, numbers and punctuation.
2. Free web mail account, and most free ISP accounts are not safe the way most people use them.
3. Spend the money on a paid email services that protect your sign-in information by encrypted your credentials and content while in transit. It’s worth it. If the email is free, then the company probably cannot justify support or budget to provide the right security and reliability.
4. Backup your data off-site. There are many services that do this, make sure you use a service that is encrypted in transit and at rest. NOT the services where you can remote in and see your data on their servers. Also, the good  services allow you to not only back up the main data on your hard drive, but also any other hard drive you are attached to your computer, or USB drive.
5. Download and use Opera browser. Fast and excellent security.
6. If you are not running an anti-virus, anti-intrusion firewall, buy a UTM firewall, or use an old computer and download the free open source firewall from Untangled.
7. Download and install OPEN OFFICE, as it does not run macro viruses automatically like some other office programs do.

What to do with a new Windows PC:
1. Download Firefox and Opera browsers (if you have not already done that!). MSIE is only for use in rare instances. Google Chrome is a privacy pit.
2. Download NOD32 or Bit Defender, two top rated AV (disclosure, the company I work for, Data Clone Labs, sells NOD32, BECAUSE it’s so good); download Comodo Free software firewall; download Sandboxie; download Foxit PDF reader.
3. Delete Norton/McCafee/AVG whatever free anti-virus and add-ons firewalls that came with PC. Unplug the computer from the Internet.
4. Re-boot5. Install NOD32 or Bit Defender
6. Re-boot
7. Install Comodo
8. Install Sandboxie and FoxitPDF Reader
9. Delete “free add-ons” Music services, toolbars, DELETE GOOGLE DESKTOP SEARCH
10. Re-boot, plug back into the Internet.

What to do with a new MAC:
1. Download Firefox and Opera. Safari only in rare instances, due to privacy.
2. Turn on MAC OX firewall, or download NoobProof firewall for the MAC

What to do with a new Linux Netbook:
1. Install Opera Browser
2. Turn on firewall
3. Install Abiword – great light weight work processor.

And, remember…. Every Time You Log On, It’s A Jungle In There!

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