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How to keep your computer network healthy and virus free.

Best Practices

Passwords.

This is a huge subject but some good advice can be found at Gibsons Research Corporation, Steve Gibson is one of the most respected security advisors ever! A strong password is the best defence against any attack and the rule of thumb here is the longer the better. A 99 character password will take approx 2.00 thousand trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion centuries to crack.

Unfortunately, the majority of online service restrict the password length which is counterintuitive. Always use the maximum number of available characters.  Ensure every password is different because when a hacker does find your password for steam train weekly they also can’t empty your bank account.

The good news is you don’t have to remember all these passwords. Lastpass is an encrypted password storage vault which not even Lastpass can see. Therefore you only need to remember 1 password. Lastpass also has a lot of other built-in security features.

Ensure passwords are changed at least every 60 days. 

Change your router password often. 80% of the internet routers are still set to:-

  • Username: Admin
  • Password: admin

Change your Wi-Fi password often. Wi-Fi is extremely insecure!

Backup Everything

It is unfortunate that in today’s online world it isn’t a case of preventing being hacked it is a case of when you’ll be hacked. So the only guarantee of recovering the contents of your hard drive and livelihood is to have multiple backups. 

Use the 3.2.1 backup system. 

  1. Local Backup

A backup to a local NAS drive or server storage

  1. Offsite Backup

Backup offsite in case of a fire, flood, theft etc.

  1. Cloud Backup
  2. Backup to the cloud in case of a drive failure,  fire, flood, theft etc

When backing up to a cloud service, ensure version history is turned on. Version history prevents previous files from being overwritten this prevents ransomware from encrypting previously uploaded backups.

The frequency at which you backup will be determined by what you would lose if the computer crashed right now.

Cloud backup options are.

  • Backblaze
  • Carbonite
  • Crashplan

One Drive, Dropbox, Google Drive are designed for collaboration, although they can be used for cloud backups they have restrictions. Also with the exception of Google Drive they cost more per Megabyte.  

Encrypt sensitive information

Industrial espionage is on the rise! You may not even be aware that you got hacked and all your files have been copied. The hacker makes money by selling your information to the competition. A hacker can sit inside your organisation and just copy anything without you knowing. 

Windows 10 Pro comes with its own encryption software but you have to turn it on. Veracrypt is way ahead of the competition with military-grade encryption and the ability to hide operating systems inside operating systems. Ideal for dodgy border crossings. 

Scan everything

It’s easy to hide a file inside a file simply typing “copy” filename+filename in the windows command prompt will merge 2 files together and you can only see 1.

Start your day with a virus scan and scan anything you plugin or download before you open it. 

Windows 10 has a secret malicious file remove, why it’s a secret I will never know but pressing the window key then type “MRT” will open the tool. This tool finds anything malicious hiding deep in the computer file system. I would run this monthly as part of a security procedure.

Do Not Click On It!

The biggest method of delivering an attack on your system is to send you an email with a link in it. Every link is a potential virus so ensure you only open them from a known source (that’s not even 100% safe). If you receive a link which states it will take you to a website. Do not click the link, go to your browser and visit the website manually. www.b.natwest.com.co.uk is not the NatWest bank it is a different west bank

Remote Desktop

Switch off the remote desktop in the Windows settings unless you use this feature, it’s a wide-open door that hackers can walkthrough.

Run Spybot search and destroy monthly. This app is very good at finding the unusual low key viruses from the dial-up days and yes they are still around.

Run Malwarebytes monthly. Malwarebytes is the best app for finding adware.