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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.
Why you REALLY DO need to have online accounts for banking, ISP, Social Security, US Postal Service, IRS, etc.
Check to see if your Internet of Things (IoT) device(s) is/are accessible to others. These devices can and are being used to attack other sites/services around the world. Hacked Cameras, DVRs Powered Today’s Massive Internet Outage and IoT Devices as Proxies for Cybercrime.
Malwarebytes Unpacked has a good article on Tech Support Scams – Help & Resource Page
CryptoLocker is 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
The Internet Health Test checks your connection for signs of any degradation at all. With enough people taking part around the country every day, we can make sure that ISPs don't get away with breaking the rules.
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.
Maybe a website loading speed isn't a client side problem but is a problem at the host. dotcom-monitor.com has a variety of tools to monitor the performance of your website from different locations around the world.
InfoWorld article: Your quick guide to malware types
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware - removes malware from your computer
Adwcleaner is a good, quick way to clean up adware. Download from Bleepingcomputer or from ToolsLib.
Windows Defender Security Center comes built into Windows 8 and 10. Many 3rd party Anti-Virus (AV) programs break Windows security so they can look into various areas of the operating system, in the process they actually create holes in the operating system. Because Windows Defender Security Center is built in it doesn't need to poke holes into the operating system and therefore is more secure. It is my personal recommendation for any system running Windows 8 or 10.
Avast free anti-virus software
Microsoft Security Essentials free anti-virus software, includes Windows Defender
Eset NOD32 anti-virus software
Eset free online scanner
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).
* - dotcom-monitor.com contacted me to let me know about their services. I checked them out before adding them to this page.