Getting Comfortable With The Basics

Computer & Internet Security

Simple tips to reduce your exposure to spyware and viruses:

  • Stop using Windows as an administrator. Use it as a limited user instead.
  • Use Google Chrome as your web browser. It's free and far more secure. This has Adobe Flash built in, and it's sandboxed so it's safer.
  • Don't use Java, unless you know you need it.
  • Don't click on links in an email.
  • Only get software from the original vendors.
  • Keep the antivirus software up to date. (I recommend using Windows 10 built-in AV)
  • Be careful of what gets installed, and be careful what you click on.
    These simple tips will reduce your exposure to spyware and viruses:  

Uninstall 3rd party antivirus
If you think you have malware?
 Java is not JavaScript – tell your friends!  by Naked Security
My recommendation is to uninstall Java

  1. Update your Operating System regularly!  Turn on automatic updates in Apple's OS X and Windows 10. Apply all critical updates immediately. Criminals often create hacks within 24 hours of Microsoft’s patches (these are called zero day exploits), so you need to protect yourself the day the patches appear.
  2. Use Google's Chrome Browser: If you continue to use IE, be sure you have the most current version. Windows 8.1 is now using IE 11, using Windows 7 or Vista upgrade your browser to Internet Explorer 10. Most spyware enters your computer through malicious web pages and IE 8 and IE 7 are less secure. Windows 10's native browser is Microsoft Edge. You can install Firefox or Google Chrome both are superior to Internet Explorer. These browsers are free to download and install.  I use all four browsers Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome.   Glenn
    Note: Currently the Edge browser do not support plugins like Google Dictionary…
  3. Don’t open email attachments, even if it’s from someone you know. If you do get something from someone you know, make sure that they really sent it to you. Email attachments are the number one way viruses and trojan horses get into computers.  Be especially suspicious of those joke of the day email from your friends.
  4. Don’t click links in email. That link could lead you to a phishing site, or the link may lead you to install malicious software. Copy and paste links into your browser, or type them in by hand instead. I often do a Google search for the site, Google will return a true address and if the site has problems the search result will usually have many links warning if the problem.
  5. Don’t download files from places you aren't absolutely sure are safe. Stick with the well known sites. Teenagers who use file-sharing software like Bit Torrent, Azureus, Kazaa, Morpheus, Grokster, and Limewire, often unwittingly download spyware and trojans. If you must, quarantine all downloads then scan them a few days later with an updated anti-virus.
  6. Use a Standard User account instead of an administrator account for your day-to-day use. Using a standard account can help protect your computer by preventing you from making changes that affect the computer without a second chance to to think before installing something new (perhaps malware), or deleting files that are required for the computer to work.
    • Create an additional user account named something like "security", give it Administrator rights. Make it's password something you can easily remember (write it down). It does not need to be super secure because it is only used on this one local computer, never online.
    • Then downgrade your existing account to "Standard User".
    • Now whenever you are logged into your day to day account and want to install software for example, Windows will pop up a dialog asking for the Administrator password before the new software can be installed. 
  7. We recommend creating a standard account for each user. When you are logged on to Windows with a standard account, you can do almost anything that you can do with an administrator account, but if you want to do something that affects other users of the computer, such as installing software or changing security settings, Windows will ask you to provide a password for an administrator account.
  8. Note: This makes it almost impossible for malware to get installed without you first entering the Administrators password.
  9. Use a firewall. The best firewall is a hardware router – the kind you use to share an internet connection. Even if they’re not billed as firewalls, they are, and they’re quite effective. I also recommend turning on your operating system’s firewall – even if you have a router – but I don’t recommend third-party software firewalls. They cause more problems than they solve.
  10. Use Gmail as your e-mail provider. Just like bank websites, Gmail uses HTTPS encryption to keep your email secure. Gmail – 10 Top Reasons Why You Should Use It – Note: Use either Firefox or Chrome as your browser to access Gmail at the normal web page. Follow steps 1 through 6 and you will have many years or safe e-mailing.  Google has added (account activity) extra security to Gmail that alerts the user if it suspects suspicious activity. For example, if you always check your email from the same location and it notices activity from the other side of the planet, it will let you know the geographic location.
  11. Avoid tech support phone scams – Cybercriminals often use the names of well-known companies, like Microsoft, in their scams. They think it will convince you to give them money or your personal information. While they usually use email to trick you, they sometimes use the telephone, instead. It is a SCAM!!! Microsoft does not call customers nor do they have partners who do that nor do they hire sub-contractors or people or even get volunteers to do that.
  12. Why you should use Google 2-step verification?How it works: –  Google 2-step verification adds an extra layer of security to your Google Account by requiring you to have access to your phone – as well as your username and password – when you sign in. This means that if someone steals or guesses your password, the potential hijacker still can't sign in to your account because they don't have your phone.  Some other email provider also offers 2-step verification. More information on Two-factor authentication.

I use 2-factor authentication it requires a bit more effort to setup but makes your Google account more secure than most banking sites.  Glenn

  • These things are not that complicated and you don't have to be a “security expert” to figure them out.  I follow these practices and haven’t been had spyware or viruses in years.

Windows 10 

Uninstall 3rd party antivirus, built in free Microsoft Windows Defender will activate.

Most computer users have one of the highly advertised 3rd party security suites Norton, McAfee, Trend Micro, Kaspersky, or AVG Internet Security. Your new computer may have security software installed by the manufacturer (usually a trial version), or as a subscription from you Internet provider (Verizon or Comcast) or perhaps you actually bought it in a store. However you came to have one of these products installed on your machine, I recommend you allow the free built in Windows Defender to activate. You will save money and more importantly allow you computer operate faster with less warning messages and pop-ups.

Uninstall 3rd party Anti Virus Programs

  • Right-click on the Flag Icon at bottom-left corner and choose the Control Panel from the pop-up menu.
  • When the Control Panel appears, choose either:
    • Uninstall a Program from the Programs category or
    • Programs and Features
  • Select the 3rd party Anti Virus program to uninstall and then click its Uninstall button.    
  • Click Yes to confirm the program uninstall.

Windows Defender will automatically activate after you remove the 3rd party Anti-Virus program. 

  • Check the status of Windows Defender.
    • Press the Windows Key (it has the Windows flag symbol).
    • At the lower left click Settings.
    • Choose Update & Security area.
    • Select Windows Defender from the left menu list.
      • Real-time and Cloud-based Protection should be ON

Note: If add / remove will not completely remove McAfee or Norton security try the tools below.

My recommendation is to  uninstall Java.

Java applets used to be fairly common, but they are now used rarely, or not at all, on most of the popular websites out there. In fact, you probably won't miss much without applet support. Facebook users, for example, report being able to use their favorite ad-dons such as games without Java.

Nevertheless, there have been several recent and widely-abused bugs in the applet part of Java that make your browser insecure.

If after uninstalling you find some game for example requires java to run, you can simply download and re-install the program form the Free Java Download page. Note: Be sure to uncheck the ad-ware check boxes when running the installer.

Manual Uninstall Procedure

Be sure to uninstall all versions of Java manually in the same way as you would uninstall any other software from your Windows computer. Older versions of Java may appear in the program list as J2SE, Java 2, Java SE or Java Runtime Environment.

Windows 10 and 8 – Uninstall Programs

  • Right-click on the screen at bottom-left corner and choose the Control Panel from the pop-up menu.
  • When the Control Panel appears, choose Uninstall a Program from the Programs category.
  • Select the program to uninstall and then click its Uninstall button.    
  • Click Yes to confirm the program uninstall.

Windows 7 and Vista – Uninstall Programs

  • Click Start
  • Select Control Panel
  • Select Programs
  • Click Programs and Features
  • Select the program you want to uninstall by clicking on it, and then click the Uninstall button.

You may need administrator privileges to remove programs.

  • Give Firefox and Google Chrome browsers a try.
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  • A Visual Guide to Computer Cables and Connectors
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  • Explore the Drop down menu. – Sometimes referred to as a pull-down menu or drop box, a drop down menu is a menu that appears when clicking on a button or text selection. For example, many programs will have a “File” drop down menu at the top left of their screen. Clicking on the “File” text generates a new menu with additional options.


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