Links to sites that are useful or just interesting —
All links are unpaid and unsolicited,
Black Hills Computer Consulting, Inc. has no financial interest in any of the sites or products listed.
CryptoLocker is the latest (and really nasty) malware. The Guardian has a good story here, and The Register has another one here.
The Risk of Running Windows XP After Support Ends April 2014
Are YOU exposed to the UPnP vulnerability? Check at GRC using the Shields UP! test. To test your exposure go to GRC, click the Proceed button and then click on "GRC's Instant UPnP Exposure Test".
General security information:
Tools for a Safer PC — Krebs on Security
The Scrap Value of a Hacked PC, Revisited — Krebs on Security
Excellent article on how easy it is to crack even "good" passwords: Anatomy of a hack: How crackers ransack passwords like “qeadzcwrsfxv1331”
Good passwords are now more important than ever before - Learn how to make a great password
Get a high quality password: GRC's Ultra High Security Password Generator
Gibson Research - a variety of tools and information to help make your computer more secure
Gibson Research - Shield's Up! - a good test of how secure your connection is to the internet. Now tests UPnP exposure.
Gibson Research - Security Now! - podcasts of Steve Gibson discussing security issues with Leo Laporte.
Check the standards compliance of web pages - W3C Markup Validation Service
Why Bouncing Spam and/or Viruses is a bad idea
DSL Reports - useful information about DSL and cable, including speed tests
Speedtest.net - good site to test your internet speeds to different servers around the world.
InfoWorld article: Your quick guide to malware types
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware - removes malware from your computer
Windows Defender for Window XP and Vista
Avast free anti-virus software
Microsoft Security Essentials free anti-virus software, includes Windows Defender
Eset NOD32 anti-virus software
Eset free online scanner
AntiVirus Ware provides independent reviews of AntiVirus (AV) programs and Security Suite programs. Unfortunately they do not test the effectiveness of the programs and therefore should not be a determining factor in any AV decision. Also, they do not look at the free AV programs which in home user cases are usually more than sufficient. They do have some good general information articles that explain viruses, malware, etc.
To determine which AV program you should use, you need to weigh speed and overhead requirements of the AV program and how well it protects you. AV-comparatives does both types of testing (and they test free versions). Because of the ever-changing nature of viruses, malware, etc. the latest detection test doesn't tell the whole story of the program. It is quite possible that for one test a program may perform extremely well, yet in previous tests it performed poorly. The opposite is also true. Therefore you need to look at several tests to see a longer term performance of a particular program.
While security suites may provide some security features that are not already included in Windows, most, if not all of those features are available for free from other sources. It may be less convenient than having everything in one program, but usually you have better protection using products from different sources and you can tailor the protection to your needs, not what the suite provider requires you to have. Also, most of the all-in-one solutions add more overhead than their protection is worth.
Pop-up blocker tests - takes a while to run through all of the tests, but gives a very good indication of how well your pop-up blocker works.
Firefox - web browser - or ftp access to Firefox released files
Thunderbird - email client - or ftp access to Thunderbird released files
SeaMonkey - for those of you that want the email client and web browser to be one application
Libre Office - a free suite of applications similar to Microsoft's Office suite. Contains programs for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, etc.
HP offers a recycling program for any brand of computer hardware
Dell also has a recycling program (when you buy a new system from them).