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Security and Privacy Guide


Security and Privacy

Introduction

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Still using...
...Windows 95, 98, Me, or XP Home?
...Windows 2000, XP MCE, XP Pro, Mac OS X or GNU/Linux as is?
...Internet Explorer?
...Outlook Express?
...a single, FAT16 or FAT32 hard drive partition?
...your default account?
...your wireless network as is?
...your cell phone or PDA as is
...the Internet, public computers and hotspots while unaware of the risks and how to prevent them?

Still think using a firewall, antivirus and antispyware software, maybe an alternative open source browser and e-mail program, and even keeping them and your operating system up-to-date, is all you need to do, to keep your computer secure and your private data private?

Or that using them constitutes basic security protection from online threats? (the folks that did the AOL/Cyber Security Alliance and AOL/NCSA online safety studies keep getting this one wrong.

By doing so, did you know you're making your private data available to strangers, and allowing crackers (mistakenly called hackers) and wardrivers to turn your computer into a ''zombie'' and use it and your wireless network, if you have and use one, to break into vital business and government computer systems? If this concerns you - it should, read on.

Six Reasons Why ''Basic'' Security Software (Antivirus / Antitrojan, Antispyware and a Firewall) Don't Provide Basic Security

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  1. Zero Day/Zero Hour and Other Threats
  2. An Unsecure Default User Account (in Windows and Mac OS)
  3. An Unsecure Default Operating System Configuration
  4. Windows' Executable Script Files
  5. Unencrypted Private Data (Online Banking Passwords, Financial Data and E-Mail, IM and Wireless Communications)
  6. Key and Screen Loggers

If you use the Windows operating system, know that it's very unsecure if used as is. And even if you use Mac OS or GNU/Linux (unless you use a secure distribution), it isn't sufficiently secure as is.

Computers will never be 100% secure, but if you want to make yours sufficiently secure, which will help make the Internet more secure in the process, I strongly recommend completing the following nine steps.

Testing for Vulnerabilities

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WARNING: Vulnerability-testing software and services can't be trusted to find all of your computer, firewall and network's critical vulnerabilities. Nor can they be trusted to not collect and use the private data they find on your hard drive.

"My personal experience is that I don't trust them to do a complete job, and I know that a lot of unknowing users on the Internet trust these online scanners to give them that "nice, warm, fuzzy feeling" about security. Big mistake, as complacency makes you drop your guard. Besides, who knows what sorts of data these scanners collect on the back end." - Jason

Disclaimer: If in spite of this you still want to use the following vulnerability testers, you do so at your and your private data's own risk.

Test your computer for vulnerabilities with these security scanners.


Security and Privacy Guide


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