Be Secure – The Internet

Explosion

This week, we’re going to be looking at staying secure and safe when using a computer. Today, we look at how you can stay safe when using the internet in general.

Similar to yesterday, I’m going to try and spice things up rather than just give a boring sermon on using firewalls, etc. Having said that…

Firewalls

Just briefly (I swear) let’s discuss firewalls. They generally come shipped alongside antivirus software, which is very important too. Personally, I use McAffee, but other good options include AVG (a free one) and, apparently, Kaspersky. I’m hesitant to recommend the ubiquitous Norton, because I’ve had bad experiences (not the least of which is that it was stopping WoW working) but since they changed it to the 2010 model, it seems alright. Whatever you pick, just make sure it works, or you’re going to be swimming in malware and viruses faster than you can say ‘Patchwerk want to play!’.

Email

Somewhere else you need to be secure, although you may not realise it, is with your emails. Once you send something to someone, how can you be sure that they won’t keep that information or pass it on, even if they say they have deleted it? It would still be in their Deleted folder anyway. Well, like a rogue, we can use Vanish!

Vanish is a program which essentially creates self-destructing files, and it can be used in sending emails, posting messages on forums and even for blog posts. This is how it works in an email situation:

  1. You write the email message.
  2. You encrypt the message with Vanish, but you never learn the encryption key (like a password). A “timeout” is assigned to the message, in eight hour increments – this means you can set it to last 8, 16, 24, 32 hours, etc.
  3. The message is sent. Anyone can decrypt and read it for the time being.
  4. Eventually the message reaches its timeout limit, and essentially disintegrates.
  5. Nobody can ever read the message again, nor can you be forced to give up the password to unlock it, because you don’t know it.

Simple but effective! Of course, there is nothing to stop someone copying the contents of the message before it destroys itself, but it certainly helps if you’re sending very confidential or private information.

Unfortunately, I’ve got to cut the post short there, but if you’re reading a blog, you’re probably internet savvy enough to know not to give out any personal details, nor to meet up with people you don’t know in real life, and so on. Stay safe, stay happy, and I shall see y’all tomorrow.

Vel.

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