How to keep yourself safe on Internet
Gone are the days when you had to stand in long queues to pay your electricity bills, phone bills, income tax returns and almost everything. But easy access to the internet and availability of these services online not just provide relief but of course helps in saving time. At the same time users are also exposed to the threats of identity theft, loss of personal information and spams.
If we follow a few golden rules we can easily protect our personal information
and greatly reduce the possibility of fraud. Here are some of them:
Outpost Security Suite: This is the only free security suite that offers
antivirus, firewall and anti malware in a single package. It even
offers email and web surfing security for online protection and
monitors application behavior to keep a check on malicious infections. Being
free, it does have some limitations — only one auto update is allowed in a day.
Others need to be manually done. Also, it does not include identity theft
protection or technical support.
Norton 360 (v 6.0): As an all-in-one suite, Norton 360 (Rs 1,649) is
pretty complete. Apart from protecting against local threats, it has a set of
tools for online identity theft protection, to tune up your PC, Email and
instant message monitoring as well as browser plugins to warn you of harmful
websites & downloads. It even has parental controls to track Internet usage
and keep kids safe from online threats. Finally, the price includes 2GB cloud
storage. Norton 360 can automatically take a regular backup of important files
to the cloud.
Comodo: The free Comodo firewall uses cloud-based data to to protect your
computer against online threats and programs. It is capable of detecting most
trojans, worms, hacker attacks and even has a sandbox mode where new programs can
be run in a protected, virtual environment to make sure that they are not
harmful. In 'game mode', Comodo works silently in the background — useful if
you don't want to be disturbed while playing a game or watching a
movie. Finally, a built in 'TrustConnect' Wi-Fi feature encrypts and safeguards
data transfers when connected to a public network.
ZoneAlarm Pro: The Pro version of ZoneAlarm's Firewall (US$ 30/year)
protects your computer against hackers and makes it invisible online by hiding
your information. It has a built-in anti-phishing tool that stops fake/infected
websites from opening on your system and it even authenticates websites to show
you which ones are secure and which are not. If an active download is infected,
the firewall automatically suspends the download for protection. It even gives
you 2GB online storage where the program uploads and backs up important data
that can be restored if required.
Avast for Android: Avast's free app provides real time antivirus protection and
even offers a firewall that can stop any app from accessing the Internet. It
even offers SMS/call filtering, an app task manager and can show access rights
of each app installed to detect any data stealing. The app has a strong set of
anti-theft features that include lost notification on the phone, SIM lock, SIM
change notifications, remote restart, remote wipe as well as the option to
remotely locate your phone using GPS. The only thing that this free app skips
out on is any sort of data backup service.
VirusBarrier for iOS: This $2.99 app can do on-demand scans of content
downloaded on to your iOS device. The program scans for
malware, adware and hacker tools on the iOS device which might get
transferred and then infect the computer (Windows/MAC/Unix) when the device is
connected to it. It can scan through zip files, email attachments, files stored
online inDropbox or on FTP severs and can also scan websites
for phishing links or other online threats.
More options for advanced users
Stay safe while downloading: Using Torrents is not illegal - sharing of
copyrighted information is. Having said that, if you are a torrent user and are
fed up of internet service providers clamping down on torrent speeds or are
wary about your privacy being compromised (because of over-zealous media
industry watchdogs), you should consider services like www.peerblock.com and
BTGuard's paid service completely hides your computer's IP address and provides
a secure, encrypted route for your torrent data. PeerBlock is open source and
works in conjunction with www.iblocklist.com. It essentially blocks your
computer's communication with advertising orspyware oriented servers,
computers monitoring torrents or computers which have been 'hacked'
Safeguard your property: Normally, there's not a very good chance that a
stolen/lost laptop will be returned to you. Unless you install Prey first, that
is. Head to www.preyproject.com to create and account and get started - it is
free and available for Windows, Mac & Linux/Ubuntu. Prey installs in
stealth mode - you won't find it anywhere on your computer - not in the hard
drive and there's no mention of it in the start menu. Instead, you control it
using an online control panel which you log into from any web browser on any
Prey sits idle unless it receives a signal from you that the laptop has been
stolen. Then onwards, as soon as the machine is connected to a network, it's
exact location is relayed back you to. You can also choose to take a screenshot
of what the thief is doing, use the webcam to take a photo, hide your passwords
and data or do a complete data wipe. The point is, you stay in control and
because you can continuously track the computer, chances of recovery are good.
Prey is also available for smartphones running Android and iOS
(download them from the respective app stores).
iSpy CCTV: Head to www.ispyconnect.com and you can download free software
for Windows that converts your existing webcam into a surveillance device,
complete with features like video recording, motion detection, face detection,
audio feeds and automatic YouTube uploading. Advanced features like
remote access (login to the website to monitor your cameras), access from
mobile devices and automatic SMS/MMS/Twitter alerts cost upwards of $7.95 per