3DSC 2.7: Use a Virtual Private Network

Today’s task is to purchase a virtual private network service.  A virtual private network (VPN) is one of those things that I just could not live without.  After using one for so many years it feels like wearing a seatbelt – I can go on without it, but I’m going to be pretty uncomfortable the whole time. I hope I’m preaching to the converted at this point, but if you still don’t have a VPN, get one and USE IT! Continue reading “3DSC 2.7: Use a Virtual Private Network”

3DSC 2.6: Full Disk Encryption

Readers of the Your Ultimate Security Guide series and the Complete Privacy and Security Desk Reference know that I am whole-heartedly in favor of full disk encryption. If you haven’t yet implemented this on your machine, I hope now is when you jump in. Continue reading “3DSC 2.6: Full Disk Encryption”

3DSC 2.4: Antivirus and Anti-Malware Scan

This weekend’s project is twofold.  First, make sure your computer is running an up-to-date antivirus application. There is a good chance many of you already are.  If you are running Windows 7 or 10 you probably have a variation of Windows Defender or Microsoft Security Essentials.  You may also have a version of a premium antivirus suite like McAfee or Norton.  If you do not already have antivirus program you should install one immediately, even if you are a Mac user. Continue reading “3DSC 2.4: Antivirus and Anti-Malware Scan”

3DSC 2.3: Perform an Application Audit

Securing your local system is critical to computer security. If the local system has security holes, any subsequent measures taken later on cannot be trusted. Online accounts cannot be trusted if the machine is infected with a keylogger that captures their passwords. Secure communications cannot be trusted if the computer is being eavesdropped on. Encrypted containers cannot be trusted if the files they contain are being exfiltrated off of the machine. One way we can secure the local system is the limit the applications that have access to files. The first step is to perform an application audit.

Continue reading “3DSC 2.3: Perform an Application Audit”

3DSC 2.2: Standard User Accounts

Though it is a phrase that is normally applied to the corporate or government sectors, personal computers should also employ and adhere to the Principle of Least Privilege (PLP).  The Principle of Least Privilege is a concept stating that any user should have only the permissions necessary to do his or her job.  At the home-user level this means creating and using a Standard User account rather than performing day-to-day operations on an Administrator account. Today’s security task is to implement the PLP by setting up a standard user accountContinue reading “3DSC 2.2: Standard User Accounts”

3DSC 2.1: Operating System Updates

Welcome to Day 1 of the Thirty-Day Security Challenge! Today’s task is not flashy or even terribly interesting, but it is one of those tasks that is absolutely critical to security.  Today’s task is to install operating system updates. Continue reading “3DSC 2.1: Operating System Updates”

National Cyber Security Awareness Month

National Cyber Security Awareness Month

October is nearlly upon us! October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. National Cyber Security Awareness month has been observed in the US since 2004. It is sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cyber Security Division, and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). This year I decided to get in on the act, too, and do a daily blog post during October. Yes, that’s thirty-one posts in thirty-one days!

These posts are going to focus heavily on encryption of data-at-rest. Many of these will be in a how-to format that will be appropriate for entry-level users, but all of us (including me) will learn something. There will be a few other topics thrown in throughout the month to keep things interesting. Every week I’m going to throw in a topic about anonymous – or at least private – purchasing, and a few other topics will find their way in, as well.

If you would like to support this effort there are a couple things I would ask. First, please help get the word out! Tell your friends, your family, your neighbors, your co-workers. Next, I still have a couple of blank days on the calendar. If you have a topic that you would like to see covered, get in touch with me. Finally, participate by commenting on the posts. If you have information that I haven’t covered, it would almost certainly be beneficial to someone else, too. So please feel free to get it out there!

Thanks to all of you who read! I’m looking forward to kicking it off next weekend!