It’s 2019. The internet vs your personal computer. Stealing your files, erasing your files, sticking trojans in your router, on your pc, phishing attacks – the list of crap goes on and on. Hands up if you have had files vanish before your eyes? Oh, that would be me, and some of you too. Hands up if you have had files implanted on your pc from someone other than you? Again, that would be me.
If you live in the US, Australia, UK, NZ, or other parts of the world that have sternly protested against other countries that have somewhat tremendous firepower, i.e. China, then you may have also been privileged to learn about other things, like bot networks. I am going to do you a favour, I am going to tell you how to secure your files, and this is not 100% secure, but it is better than sitting there like an idiot watching things go wrong.
1. Secure Your Important Stuff Offline – DAILY (Don’t keep personal things on your computer ONLY HAVE THEM IN A USB!!!)
If you are working on something important, and you fail to save your data offline, meaning a portable drive than you can plug and unplug, you are computing wrong. You absolutely MUST NOT BE AN IDIOT AND LEAVE YOUR IMPORTANT FILES ON YOUR COMPUTER WITHOUT SOME FORM OF BACKUP. That is how you learn the hard way that you lost something important. I and others have had it happen. Don’t go through it if you can. Every time you work on your computer, your file, and its really important to you, make sure you put it onto a portable drive. And don’t transfer it when you are online, make sure you transfer it when you are offline. Why offline? In case some lurker POS decides to wander into your USB device and hang 10 for a while.
Make sure you cut off any connection to the outside internet, and internalise your connection completely, which you transfer, save and if so make edits to your file. When you have finished transferring, do take your USB out and make sure that you back up your USB as well to another device. I’m not joking. Be absolutely anal about making sure you have dozens of copies of your file. Then jerks online cannot totally ruin your day.
2. Make sure you update your software i.e. Operating system and any programs you use.
Any out of date software will present a chance to jerks of the internet. Make sure you are not lagging behind, and if the latest updates are still exploitable, maybe do away with that program.
3. Use a VPN when you are online.
Obscure your connection from MITM (Man in the middle) attacks. IPVanish, NORDVPN and EXPRESSVPN seem to be good. I wont recommend one or the other. You find your own, but you need one with stellar encryption, no logs, no logs and that’s right, NO LOGS.
4. Don’t be fricken idle with your files.
Honestly, if you go to sleep by not think about your files, your internet and what could be happening, you deserve to have things go missing. You must be vigilant with your files. If you aren’t, then the jerks who want your info will be.
5. If you are not using your internet, TURN IT OFF.
Don t leave your connection hanging out there. Turn the damn thing off. If it’s just hanging out there, people can sit there and launch attacks at it to gain your password and then access to your network. Then your pc and anything else connected to your internet. TURN IT OFF. If you are not using it, turn it off.
6. Antivirus, Defender, Firewall, Everything On.
If you have these on your computer, make sure you get the best. Make sure its up to date. Make sure the settings are set to PARANOID. Be warned. Proper hackers are assholes. They will make sure that their exploits will get through any system (including Linux) because those exploits are worth money on the black market. Those black markets can give massive sums to people with exploits against the latest version of windows, MAC or other device. And unfortunately, even if you are up to date, if they have packaged it in a way that does not warn the ANTIVIRUS etc, then that’s what people pay good money for. The only truly nice thing about this point, is that you have to be a very good hacker to be that good. And you don’t become something like that overnight. Trust me, I know.
7. You are not just being attacked by PEOPLE.
You may not know this, but it’s 2019. And in 2019 bot armies can do the job of thousands of hackers. I recently viewed MEMCRASHED. If you don’t know what that is, it is Ddos attack program that uses UDP connections to a target pc. Not only that, but it can muster the power from some 45000 computers at its disposal. You need to know that there are some clever bastards out there than create an Autobot (Not the good kind like in transformers) army to trawl the internet or some IP they have, to constantly test your or someone elses system with modified exploits or custom exploits made or bought. These bots will persist with everything – you may be alerted, you may not be – but they persist with the effort to breach, gain a shell and enter your system to steal, do damage, or simply spy on you. How to defend? Make sure you are up to date, make sure you turn off your internet when its not in use AND –
8. Refresh your router frequently if you think you are being targeted.
This is a hard one for some, as they don’t always have access to the router, but refresh your connection if you can. That means reboot it. Also, install VPN on it if you can (VPN on your own pc is good too) so you can encrypt your connection. Make sure the firewall is set on high, make sure the firewall on your pc is also set on high. Be really strict and screwing these people over. They will be persistent, and continue to try everything they can until they get into your computer, or install malware on your router. Just refresh, update and when it doubt FACTORY RESET and re-update.
9. Don’t be afraid to factory reset your computer.
I know this might sound really effed to do, but don’t be afraid to factory reset your PC. If you think you have been hacked, or you think you have a persistent back door on your computer, absolutely destroy everything on it and send it back to when you first opened it out of the box. If you are using Linux, be a jerk to people and encrypt your partitions, and make your passwords complicated.
10. Be a real pain in the ass and have long passwords for everything.
I took this so seriously I wrote my own program for this. I wrote a python program to generate long multi character passwords that are over 30 characters long. If you make it hard for yourself to remember them, they, the hackers and jerks online, have no chance either. If you have a hard time remembering them, use a password manager. And store any secret key to it offline in multiple locations so you cant forget it, but it cant be reached unless physically obtained. If they are that keen and show up in person with people, just give it to them. Depending on what it is, it may be worth your life. I’m not sure, I don’t know.
These are my 10 tips for 2019 to say EFF OFF to jerks and bots online. You don’t win friends with salad. Be smart, work smart. Dumb people get hacked and harassed.
All the best.