Security

Cyber war.
We live online together, sharing a single Internet. We use it for banking, socialising, working, shopping and relaxing -- but it's a cyber warzone. There are hackers, trackers and malware hunting for victims. Most countries have cyber armies now. We face constant, growing threats. Take them seriously.
 

 

The easiest way into your devices and your data is you not caring.

Right now, there's a relentless global data war happening and you're caught in it.
Here's what some of it looks like in pretty-but-scary real time:
https://cybermap.kaspersky.com (Threats: Facebook and Google Analytics.)

Meanwhile, your online activity is being tracked by a vast number of organisations, usually for "marketing" purposes. Your personal data is for sale, despite claims that it's anonymous. It is not! And we haven't even mentioned global surveillance!

 

Don't be an easy target.

If you are breached, you probably won't know at first. An effective hacker (or spy, or virus) will lurk in a system silently, observing and learning, taking data and ever more control of the system. Your job is to put up some basic defences and a few alarms. That's just common sense. Your life is digital. Your bank account is data. Take care of them!

Remain vigilant. That's your best defence against phishing, hacking and viruses. Generally, be careful what you click, tap, install, plug in or connect to! Don't post personal information online if you can avoid it. Privacy is a good defence against unwanted intruders!

Basically, stop trusting so easily. Don't trust stangers online (they could be anyone or anything). Don't trust brand names unless you've done some basic research. Don't believe the hype. If this all sounds a lot like "be paranoid and afraid", that's true, but a little paranoia is nature's way of keeping you alive!

 

Safety measures.

1: Backup your data. Keep it safe. Have another backup. Plan for the worst and hope it never happens.

2: Ensure any helpful security features are switched on, like the lock on your phone, or your router's firewall.

3: Use passwords if you have the option and change any default passwords. NEVER leave it as the default, it's just an open door for hackers or thieves.

Keep changing your passwords from time to time and don't use the same password on multiple accounts/devices. (Avoid obvious ones like "123456", "password", "letmein", etc. These are more common you think!)

Don't share your passwords unless absolutely necessary!

4: Make use of any free security updates. There's no excuse not to!

5: Use some extra security tools, if they're available. Beware of products that cost money or display ads. They're not your friends!

 

SOME ESSENTIAL PRIVACY AND SECURITY TOOLS:

The tools and services we recommend below cost no money, only a little of your time.

There's a solid logic behind making free professional-quality tools. Anyone can access free tools, whereas not everyone can afford to pay. More people will use free things and there's safety in numbers. If we're not spreading viruses and security problems to each other, we're all safer! If we all have free, honest, ethical, transparent tools, it helps everyone. We unite for common goals because we face common threats -- and the costs of security failures are exponentially higher than the cost of making some software!

 

Search:

These services are the most private ways to search the general web. Their businesses succeed by NOT tracking you. And try saying "search", instead of repeating brand names!

 

Browsers: (For Linux, Mac and Windows.)

We recommend that you only use one of these web browsers. You can install them next to your current browser and test them without risk. They're free and transparent software.

Firefox is a solid, general-purpose browser and the add-ons make it pretty secure for daily use.

Or if you have a preference for Google Chrome, try the original Google-less version. (Wikipedia info)

Tor is a whole new level of privacy and anonymity, if used carefully. (More information)

 

Browser add-ons:

Your browser is leaking data and letting in hostile code. Install these safe plug-ins ASAP!
Take some time to get familiar with this armoury. They're all very easy to configure and use.

 

FURTHER ADVICE:

Online self-defence

Trackers

Windows security tools

 

Also see: e-mail