More on Safe Internet Use

VPNs can be handy things. The better ones offer much safer (note: safER) Internet use, and even less good ones have some value. I’ve been appreciating the switch to Speedify on Windows computers here on our home network. Fairly decent security boost, and I very much appreciate the side benefit of compressed data use.

Unfortunately, every time I have attempted to install Speedify on my Android phone, it reports having been installed but shows up nowhere. Even browsing the files on the device turns up no evidence of its presence. So, I’ve resorted to using “Opera VPN” (SurfEasy–acquired by Opera recently) on that phone. It is at least a wee tad better than using the (SurfEasy) VPN built into the Opera Browser, since it appears to simply remain active on the device whether I am using Opera or not, but it’s still SurfEasy, an MOR VPN, IMO.

If one doesn’t have a VPN subscription anywhere else, defaulting to Opera and enabling the built-in VPN would certainly improve one’s security over no VPN.

Silver Lining to “Wanna Cry” Ransomware?

If there is a silver lining to the recent Wanna Cry ransomware outbreak, perhaps it is this: heightened security awareness among the sheeple. *sigh*

Here are some general things to do, gleaned from a few articles and my own experiences dealing with other folks’ malware infestations:

  • Don’t pay
  • don’t click on email attachments*
  • Keep your software up to date
  • INCLUDING your security softwares!
  • Back up your personal files, and make at least one system backup of a stable, clean system.

*See the asterisk above? Yeh, that. Being able to send and receive email attachments is one of the important features of email, so not opening ANY email attachments vitiates the usefulness of email. Not a problem. First, only accept attachments from someone you know. Verify that the email actually did come from that person. At least look at the headers, but if ANY possible question exists about the email’s authenticity, ASK THE PERSON WHO SEEMS TO HAVE SENT IT! And always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS scan email attachments with up-to-date security softwares.

Even if I have done all of these, I have sometimes saved the attachment offline, then opened it in a virtual machine to check. I have actually caught two “baddies” this way, though it’s been years since that time.

Nothing in the short list above is at all difficult to do, and not even really time-consuming either. It’s just common sense, something sorely lacking among many users (which is exactly how <300,000 computers were hit by “Wanna Cry”–users self-infecting).