Tag Archives: security

How to: Protect your computer from malware in 4 simple steps

Well, since I’ve got the day off school today thanks to the vast amounts of snow across the country, I’ve decided it might be a good idea to post up a simple guide on how to protect your computer from malware and dangerous software in a few simple steps. This guide should be useful to even the most novice of computer users and will help you get started even if you don’t know your anti-virus from your firewall.

Before I start, everybody who uses a computer needs to be aware of the importance of making sure your computer is protected from malware. If you don’t keep it protected you are at risk from software that may damage your operating system or steal much of your personal details.

The biggest threat to your personal details are probably key loggers. Software is maliciously installed onto your computer via programs running in the background and then it monitors what you type with your keyboard. It then saves this data and sends it back to whoever requested it. You have to remember that this isn’t just forum passwords and computer logons – it could be your online banking details or your credit card details.

So anyway – here’s the top 4 ways to make sure your computer is safe:

  1. Make sure that you have anti-virus and firewall installed. There is plenty of free anti-virus software available – there’s no need to be spending money. I’d personally recommend Comodo Internet Security as it not only includes anti-virus and firewall in one package, but it works very well and doesn’t slow down your PC. However, other free standalone anti-virus packages include Microsoft Security Essentials, AVG Free, Avast! and more. Windows XP, Vista and 7 all comes with firewall by default, but the more security conscious should download something a bit more advanced. Comodo Internet Security comes with firewall as I said earlier, but you could also try ZoneAlarm or Outpost. When you’ve downloaded the relevant software and installed it, you’ll need to make sure that its configured correctly – it should do this automatically. If it’s set to monitor “on access” (which means it monitors traffic as it is downloaded or uploaded) and is set to occasionally do a full scan (about once a week or so) you should be fine.
  2. Make sure your chosen software is up to date. This is vital as new threats crop up daily – so you need to make sure your software isn’t going to be missing threats that came out yesterday. Your security software will probably warn you if you’re software is out of date. If it does, make sure you’re connected to the internet and tell it to update. It shouldn’t take more than five minutes but it is key to a secure key.
  3. Don’t download software you aren’t sure about. There are plenty of pop-ups and weird advertisements across the internet that may encourage you to download software you might not trust – some claim your computer is “unprotected” or “unsafe”. Totally ignore them – they are trying to encourage you to download software that could be harmful to your computer – such as key loggers. Before downloading software, try to do a quick web search to verify the safety of the software. It may be totally fine, but it’s better safe than sorry.
  4. Check the security of websites you are using. Especially consider this when you are logging onto sites that involve money. Make sure there is a padlock logo in the address bar, and make sure that the web address familiar. For example, if you are logging into PayPal, make sure the web address shows “paypal.com” and the “https://” beginning. The HTTPS means that the page is encrypted and secure. If your web browser warns you about anything to do with an “invalid” or “unsecure” certificate, tread carefully. I would suggest you try again later. If the warning persists, contact the customer support for the site you are trying to log onto, and ask them to look into the issue.

There you go – 4 simple steps that will make sure you and your computer is safe on the internet. Stick to those and you should never have a problem!

Microsoft Security Essentials – hands on…

It was in tech news today that Microsoft has let loose its new free security system to replace Windows Live OneCare. It’s been expected for release for quite a while but we didn’t know an exact date.

So, GEEK! decided to have a quick go with the new software and see whats up.

You can download it for free here, providing you have genuine Windows software. The download is under 5MB, so you don’t have to worry about a large download. Once it is downloaded and you run it, it will do a verification of genuine Windows software, and then it will install. Installation is remarkably quick, and before you know it the software will be downloading updates.

Surprisingly, this took a very long time. It took nearly 10 minutes for my mid-spec laptop (dual core, 2GB RAM) to download the relevant updates.

Once it had finished, I did a quick scan. This wasn’t too bad actually. I was quite pleased at how little resources this used. While it was scanning, my computer told me it was using about 7MB of RAM and very little CPU power so I was very impressed at how quietly it runs.

I also did a couple of hours of browsing around the software. I have to say it is extremely simple to use and navigate.

I’d like to see it become popular because I’ve always had my views that paid antivirus is a waste of time.

In my case, I won’t be keeping it because I like Comodo Personal Firewall a lot, but if you’re a novice computer user and you need a simple way to get protected, this might be for you. It will work on Windows XP, Vista and 7 and as long as you have genuine Windows software you can get it for free.

I have to say I like it, but I’m looking forward to seeing if it gains any form of popularity.

Guide: A simple way to make a WEP key

There are too many people around who have their wifi routers unsecured. Why? Well there are horrible people out there who think it’s right to connect to your wifi. Believe it or not, it’s stealing and if you are caught you will get in trouble.

It’s a really good idea to set up a security key for your wifi. It is simple to do and will save you a lot of hassle. OK, if you live in the middle of a field in a rural area, chances are that there won’t be any wifi-jackers (that’s what I call them) anywhere near you, but you never know.

I get questions from quite a few people about making a good, secure wifi key that’ll keep those unwanted wifi-jackers away. Most routers automatically set up a WEP key when you set them up, but they can be hard to remember and annoying when you need them regularly.

I say the same thing to everyone – there is an easy way to create a simple easy to set a key to remember. An important date you you (such as a birthday) and and another important 2 digit number (such as your house number). I suggest you have it like this:


KEY: D – Day, M – Month, Y – Year, H – House number.

So, if my birthday was on the 12th of June 1978 (it isn’t, seriously!) and my house number was 9, I’d set it like this: 1206197809.

You won’t forget it, I promise. As long as you remember the structure you’ll be fine. I find it a really simple way to make a good, secure WEP key. As long as you don’t tell anyone else that it’s the structure of your security key, you won’t get any unwanted intruders chewing up all your bandwidth and getting you into trouble with the law.