Beefing Up Your Computer Security

Posted on 02/22/2016 By

internetsafetyIf you’re an avid internet user then you should know that keeping your computer and all your personal data secure is your utmost priority.  There are a few things to do that you probably already know about, and a few things that you may not know about as well!  That’s why we’re here – to help you think of new ways to safeguard yourself online and help determine any blind spots or things you might have missed.

Stay Up To Date

First of all, one of the biggest things to understand about computer security is that things are changing all the time.  New threats pop up on the regular.  New technologies will bring with them new vulnerabilities.  The best defense is to stay up to date on tech news.  Bookmarking and regularly visiting blogs such as ARS Technica and KrebsOnSecurity is a great way to beef up your knowledge of current tech events.  Knowledge is power.  You’ll learn what to look for in the latest phishing schemes, know what websites to avoid, and how to safeguard your data even better using the latest in authentication methods such as two factor authentication.

Use The Best Antivirus And Antimalware Software

You can’t always avoid getting a virus because you never know where they will come from.  The best way to prevent these scallywags is to use antivirus software.  The top program that we recommend to our clients and friends is Norton 360.  This program is light, clean, and provides real time protection.

However, sometimes malware will sometimes circumvent this great software because malware looks like a “legitimate” software program – whether you want it or not.  This is what happened to me when I got hit with the Conduit software.  It took over my browser without warning and Norton 360 didn’t do a thing.  I had to use Spyhunter 4 to get rid of the damn thing.  It actually piggybacked off of a freeware software download – I should know better, but sometimes we all make mistakes.

Steer Clear Of Bad Neighborhoods

This is kind of in conjunction with the previous tip.  Try to avoid bad internet neighborhoods that are often known for distributing malware and viruses.  This includes warez sites, hacking sites, adult sites, free software sites, and more.  There are a lot of incidents associated with these types of websites and it shouldn’t surprise people if they get a virus after visiting one of these bad zones.

Keep All Software Up To Date

We highly recommend that you ensure that all of your software is kept as up to date as possible.  This can sometimes be hard to remember to do, so we also recommend that you enable “automatic updates” which is usually a feature on most software programs.  This will let the software download and install updates as soon as they become available.  This will protect you from most of the junk out there.  Software updates are 90% of the time about adding and patching security features and holes.

Got Any Other Tips?

If you have any other tips we would love to hear about them!  Post a comment below with all of your suggestions.

Security


Learning New Languages For Travel

Posted on 11/10/2015 By

languagetravelOne of the best reasons to learn a new language is for traveling.  When you’re abroad there’s nothing more satisfying than talking with the locals in their native tongue.  Not only does this improve your experience but the locals will also respect you more!  I’ll never forget the time that I was traveling in a cab in Mexico talking to the driver about local happenings – in Spanish!

The best strategy is not to start right before you leave.  You’ll want to start learning well before your trip.  Another great strategy is to get a language program that is geared for travelers – or at least has a travel section.

The best way to start learning a language is to get a good course that you can use at home, and plan for at least a certain amount of time each day.  Even if you can only spend 30 minutes, it’s better than nothing!  Buy yourself a new calendar and some fun markers or stickers, and start ticking off the days that you reach your goal (or exceed it!).  Having a visual reminder and a goal to fill in all the days is a great way to keep yourself motivated.

Another tip that can go a long way towards helping you learn a new language is to just start speaking it!  Even if you’re not perfect in your grammar, finding people to talk to can help you out immensely.  There are a lot of language learning forums out there that can help connect you to other people who are learning the same language as you.  Even if you’re only talking about where you’re from with limited vocabulary, it’s helpful to just START.  This is what renowned language learning scholar Benny Lewis suggests, and he is one of the most prolific multi-lingualists in the world!

If you’re looking for a great learn at home program then Rocket Languages might be a great place to start.  This is an excellent program that gives you a lot of bang for your buck.  I’ve personally used Rocket Spanish and I wrote about it in this review.  It’s an excellent program that’s much cheaper than Rosetta Stone and is a bit more traditional in terms of its methods.

Another thing that might help you out when it comes to learning a new language is to get reading material in the language that you’re learning.  When I was learning Spanish I got People magazine in Spanish and read it as much as I could.  I really think that this went a long way towards helping me to retain what I learned and pound it into my head.  Plus it was fun!  I was reading Spanish!

Another thing that I did was to get movies in Spanish and watch them to see if I could understand them.  It really helped in terms of understanding the language as it is spoken by native speakers, which can be fast for beginners.

Any way you do it, learning a new language is a challenge but quite fun at the same time if you keep things fresh.  Learning a bit before you travel will make your trip that much better!

Education


Revealed: 4 Easy Ways To Avoid Being Hacked

Posted on 11/04/2015 By

hackerIntroduction

With all the recent news about corporate cyber security failures, government surveillance, and large scale-hacks, keeping yourself safe online can seem like a daunting task. While there is probably no way of completely avoiding the NSA if they have set their sights on you, the good news is that there are a number of simple things that you can do in order to protect yourself against unwanted surveillance and hackers. Below, therefore, we take a look at 4 tips that should mitigate the risk of your personal data falling into the wrong hands as follows:

1. Treat emails suspiciously

Numerous hacking and cyber attacks are often initiated through simple but malicious email campaigns. While email provides for a wonderful communication platform, it can also be a huge security risk. For instance, phishing is a method that is used by hackers to send seemingly innocuous emails that lead unsuspecting victims to fake websites that ask for their personal information.

To avoid being scammed by phony emails, make sure that whoever who is sending you emails is someone who is well known to you. In addition, always check the email address in order to ascertain that it matches the website where you think it is from. Alternatively, to be extra cautious, you could always check the sender’s IP address. This can be done by finding the email’s source information after which you can Google the IP address so as to identify its source.

2. Desist from opening attachments

A good rule of thumb to follow if you want to reduce the instances of hacking on your personal data is to never open attachments unless you are absolutely sure of their source. This is because one of the easiest ways that hackers use to download malicious code on to their victim’s computers is by sending emails that contain virus-laden files.

This is also how companies frequently get hacked when unsuspecting employees download malicious software which then infiltrates the entire network. Some of the most dangerous file types include .EXEs, PDFs, and Word.

3. Use of advanced passwords

This is, undoubtedly, one of the most obvious yet often overlooked tips. Strong passwords include lowercase, uppercase, punctuation, numbers, and any other gibberish that may come to mind. Do not make your password(s) a personal reference or store them in a saved file. More importantly, do not employ the same password for multiple accounts. Also, remember to change your passwords frequently, especially for vulnerable accounts like banking and email.

4. Do not share personal data on public Wi-Fi

Thinking about checking your bank account or purchasing a plane ticket while sitting at a coffee shop? Well, you may want to think twice about it as you do not know how secure the connection you are using is. The same goes for places like conference centers and hotels. There is simply no way of knowing where you may be vulnerable so it is advisable to be judicious about where you are surfing.

If you must access your private information while on these networks, it would be prudent to use tools such as virtual private networks (VPNs) which will encrypt your traffic so that it is impossible for the Wi-Fi network to see the sites you visit. Better yet, you could set up a hotspot aided by your mobile data.

Security


Welcome

Posted on 11/04/2015 By

ascociationvacarosWelcome to Asociation Vacaros, a multi author blog featuring a lot of tech thoughts.  This is our first post and we just wanted to talk about what we want out of this site.

Mostly this site is our own personal tech blog where we will post updates to projects that matter to us, as well as interesting articles that might be of help to our visitors.  I would love it if people would send in their article ideas, or even articles themselves, for publication.

I also want to invite people to request articles or research.  Otherwise we will just end up writing about what we want to talk about rather than things that might be interesting to our visitors.

Anyway, enjoy the blog!

 

Misc