I never thought it could happen to me. I thought only stupid computer illiterate old people and women got hacked.
Not me. I popped out of the womb with a computer in my hands. No way would anyone hack into my account.
Well, I did get hacked.
Thankfully it won’t cost me more than a bruised ego and time updating my security systems. I’ll share what I currently do to protect myself, so my nightmare doesn’t become your reality.
1. Don’t do dangerous stuff online
Doing dangerous stuff online puts you at the greatest hacking risk, which naturally makes it the hardest to follow.
Don’t click on sketchy links, especially that freaky Asian porn related stuff.
Don’t download attachments from people you don’t know (and people you do know).
Don’t torrent stuff.
Don’t illegally stream TV shows or movies.
You probably shouldn’t let women use your computer either.
This is hard stuff to follow, but watching the latest episode of some TV show you don’t care about isn’t worth losing all the money in your bank account.
Plus, you can probably do more productive things than watch a TV show you don’t care about… like meet Asian sluts you don’t care about.
2. Get a VPN
VPN stands for Very Private Network. Simply put, it is an encrypted internet connection. This allows you to access the internet through a different country via an encrypted tunnel.
Using a VPN is the most important thing you can do to keep yourself safe online, especially if you work over public networks. VPNs are also necessary in countries with restricted Internet (China). I don’t live in China, however I prefer working in cafes and therefore a VPN is essential for my internet security.
You should probably have one on your phone and any device that accesses the internet as well.
ProtonVPN: $59.95/year ($5/month) for 5 devices, which includes phones and other computers. I use ProtonVPN and I like it.
They don’t have an affiliate program, so it really pains me to recommend them because I don’t get money if you sign up. However, they are the best VPN and it’s not even close.
The company is also based in Switzerland, so you don’t have to worry about the NSA snooping on you. Hell, the email servers for ProtonMail are literally located under a mountain in the Swiss Alps.
10/10 would recommend.
3. Download an AdBlocker
Not only does it stop you from seeing annoying ads on PornHub, but it can stop you from getting hacked by drive-by malware and it you won’t have to see marketing propaganda. Ad Block Pro sucks, so don’t use it.
Use uBlock Origin for good ad and tracker blocking. You can even download a bunch of lists.
4. Get a Good Anti-Virus
An anti-virus won’t make your computer an impenetrable fortress, but it can stop certain threats in case you do stupid stuff online or make a mistake and click the wrong link.
Just remember, an anti-virus is not a free pass to do risky stuff online.
WebRoot AntiVirus. WebRoot is more lightweight than other anti-viruses and less annoying than Norton or McAfee. I use this on my computer.
Kaspersky. A Russian based antivirus. It always ranks at the top, or near the top, of every antivirus list, so I guess it’s good.
5. Use a Password Manager
Use a password manager to store your passwords. The days of using “titsnass69” for every login are over.
These programs allow you to store different passwords for each login, so if one email/password combination is compromised your whole online presence is safe.
KeePass is the most secure and is my recommendation for more tech savvy readers.
LastPass is less secure. I recommend this for less tech savvy readers.
6. Encrypt Sensitive Documents
Encrypt any sensitive documents on your computer. No, setting a password to sign onto Windows does not count as encryption. For encryption I recommend using the free and open source software VeraCrypt with a strong password.
You can encrypt your whole hard drive if you like, but at a minimum encrypt any sensitive information like those X-rated videos from Bangkok, a scanned image of your passport, and your Ethereum wallet password.
For bonus points, you can save the encrypted volume to your Dropbox to make an encrypted cloud backup. Don’t lose your encryption password.
VeraCrypt with DropBox for cloud storage.
7. Use a Linux Operating System
It is a well-known fact that Windows is the most popular operating system in the world. Windows also has security issues that have not been patched. And you may not even be able to download the patch when Microsoft gets around to releasing it.
Thanks, Bills Gates.
Windows, to the surprise of no one, has a lot of malware written for it.
Ubuntu on the other hand has very limited malware due to a limited marketshare and the difficulty of writing malware on a Linux system.
A guide to install Ubuntu is way beyond the scope of this article (and site). Thankfully, the Ubuntu community is very helpful and they have many videos and guides on how to install Ubuntu on just about any operating system.
The listed items should help you stay secure. The best part is you don’t necessarily have to purchase anything to stay secure. At a minimum I recommend a VPN, uBlock Origin, and safe browsing habits. A good anti-virus will help too.
Ubuntu and VeraCrypt are probably overkill for 99% of people reading this blog. I’m just super paranoid.
Leave a comment discussing any other security tips you have. I love talking about this stuff.
Stay safe out there guys.