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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Effective Ways to Protect PC from Internet Threats

Technology has enhanced our lives in ways that was unbelievable – even unimaginable – for people until a few decades ago. Computer gadgets, for example, have become our most valued possessions, almost akin to the mythical spirit animals. Who is slaved to whom is a topic that needs a separate discussion altogether, but we can all agree that computers and the internet are changing the world for good.

On the flip side, the danger of increasing threat landscape in the internet is a sword that hangs above our digital future. Cyber-crime is internet’s underbelly that is frustrating and counterproductive to our lives. Criminals are hell-bent on misusing personal and corporate data to make illegal gains. And the sad truth is; anyone with a PC and mobile devices are a likely target.

internet-threats

While security solutions are far better than what we had until a few years ago, hackers are also employing sophisticated new techniques to breach security parameters and impinge damage. Staying ahead of the curve definitely helps, but how to go about it? Below, we present to you a few ways in which you can ensure security for your computer devices and digital assets. Read and share your opinions in the comment section at the end of the article.

Shield Your Devices with Security Software

The number rule to cybersecurity is to have all the necessary tools required to make your online experience secure. You can buy an antivirus (AV) to keep virus attacks at bay, or buy a powerful security suite at yearly subscription that offers a host of safety features. Some people like to cherry-pick programs and customize their computer protection, so they buy stand-alone Antivirus, firewall, internet security, anti-spyware, etc. to build their own security circuit.

Nowadays, many vendors including Comodo offer such security program at free-of-cost or as a “freemium” service. You just have to ensure you the products you get comes packed with good features and from a trusted brand.

Keep Your Computer Up-to-date

It’s not enough to have all security software installed in your computer and leave it to gather dust. Installing software’s in your PC is like buying home appliances that needs routine cleaning and maintenance, and sometimes, even an upgrade. One of the many ways that cyber-criminals infiltrate computers is through outdated software’s such as Operating Systems (OS), AVs, device drivers, browser plug-ins and extensions, and all other programs you can think of.

Updating softwares keeps them abreast of the latest virus definitions and equips them with the patches required to safeguard them against incoming threats. Out-of-date softwares, on the other hand, simply don’t have the mechanism to fight against latest threats.

Secure Your Devices in the Real-world

It’s easy to be biased and assume that cybercrime only exists at a digital level, but the fact is a majority of identify theft and hacking happens in the physical world. It is as important to safeguard your devices in the physical world as it is in the virtual cyber space. InfoSec experts advice not to leave your devices unguarded at public places, setting passcode to access a device and apps, and not using public (read: free) wi-fi zones to carry out financial transactions.

For Android smartphones, a great way to consolidate data safety is to have an app that can be used to remotely lock your mobile or wipe personal information in it, even if its get stolen or lost.

Back-up your Precious Data

Back up exactly a security measure in itself, but it fights the odds against data loss in case of an unfortunate happening. It’s like an insurance policy against a possible house fire. The trick is to do it religiously, and not assuming that you will be fine if you back-up your data later. You can back-up your important data in an external hard drive, CD, or an online space. Suppose an unforeseen incident happens and you lose most of your data, the archived data will help you rebound normally without wasting of time.

Lately, many email providers such as Google and Hotmail offer free cloud space up to a certain space storage limit for their users. Another option is to go with cloud vendors who offer cloud space for a trial period, and eventually for monthly or yearly fee. The good thing about such a service is that they encrypt their cloud storage against possible threats.

Stay Alert

In addition to all the preventive/offensive techniques discussed above, there are a variety of other activities you can do to protect yourself against data theft. Amid our busy everyday schedule, we sometimes tend to overlook simple security cautions like clicking on an email attachment without much thought and getting a virus infection as a result of it. We can avert the traps laid in phishing emails by applying a little common sense to gauge its content. Similarly, tweak the web browsers’ privacy settings to seal the vulnerabilities of your computer against cookies, adware, and spyware. You can also enable the pop-up blocker in the browser to prevent any malvertising attempts from giving you a problem.

Above all, turn on the User Account Control (UAC) so that every change that takes place in your PC requires your approval, and hence, stops malware’s from making unauthorized changes even if they are able to infiltrate your system.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2016 in Internet Security

 

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Dell Laptops Found Preloaded with Dodgy Root CA, Users Feel Superfish Deja Vu

Over the week, online media outlets reported a security blunder reported in new Dell machines that allows cybercriminals to intercept Dell laptops and steal user data.

Some users found that their new model Dell machines came with pre-installed root Certificate Authority (CA), named eDellRoot, that enables cybercriminals to snoop into their PC’s web browser. Instead of enhancing the encryption, the root CA’s private key could sign potentially harmful malwares and allowed them to appear legitimate.

edell-certificate-test

Perpetrators could use this to their advantage to decrypt the encrypted data (such as your credentials to online banking website) without a user noticing it. As a result, attackers could launch Man-In-The-Middle (MITM) attack to steal, modify, or destroy user data.

Initially when the news made rounds, Dell defended the accusation through its Twitter handle (@DellCares) claiming that it didn’t pose any threat to the users. However, the company soon posted an apology in their website and is offering solutions to disable eDellRoot. The Texas-based company had started receiving flak from increasing number of customers who had bought the latest range of Dell computers that were affected by the vulnerability.

The company hasn’t come out with details about the machines affected by this vulnerability, but so far users have reported that the XPS 15, Latitude E7450, Inspiron 5548, Inspiron 5000, Inspiron 3647, and Precision M4800 series have been found using the same root CA.

The savvy tech community is especially furious because the Dell incident hits them close to home, reminding them of the horrific Superfish scandal that took place early this year. Back then, the Lenevo laptops were sold with preloaded bloatware that were capable of intercepting encrypted web pages and making browsers more prone to MITM attacks.

Useful Resources: Download Internet Security Suite

 

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2016 in Internet Security, vulnerability

 

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