gothfvck: GF logo (Default)
I've tried a handful of of different browsers over the years, mostly stuff in the Debian/Ubuntu/etc etc repositories but I've always fell back to Mozilla Firefox (or Icecat if you're using Debian GNU/Linux ;). This is mainly because of a few choice addons. There may be ways to do some of this without them and in fact I edited my network IP block settings from a list somebody compiled to simply not even load known advertisements and other bad sites. I did this on WinXP & Linux and it worked great for a while. The following is pretty much a must have list of modifications if you want a fairly secure experience.


  • Adblock Plus - This handy little one blocks advertisements and hides the space they used to be for mostly seamless page viewing. Very rarely do I see ads now and it makes the web a better place.

  • Noscript - This little extension blocks just about everything other than regular HTML & CSS. Java, javascript, flash, and other stuff is only allowed to load after you make an exception for it. This is much easier to use than it sounds. What it does is presents a list of sites that are trying to load when you visit a web page with a little light yellow bar on the bottom of the window that says "options" and you can either temporarily allow or permanently allow these websites (you can change your mind later in the same menu). With this and the above I have never seen any advertisements even the ones in Pandora for free accounts.

  • Flashblock - What's the point of having this after installing the above you ask? First of all when it comes to security (and backing up data) there's never too much redundancy. Secondly it adds a very useful Play button to flash videos before they load up. Often times you'll see links or even videos that link to other pages with videos or music that will automatically start playing and you end up with multiple things going at the same time searching to turn something off until you're ready. Often with this one you will have to go into it's options and whitelist pages which isn't terribly inconvenient because you only have to do it once and not for every site. It's not as dire but a great addition to have.

  • BetterPrivacy - This deletes a special newer type of cookie from Flash called LSO's. These don't get deleted when you remove the other ones from within the web browser and they may not expire (as quickly) so it's possible they hold massive amounts of info on you, where you've been and what you've been doing.

  • HTTPS Everywhere - This little piggy goes to market securely. HTTPS means hypertext transfer protocol with SSL/TLS. SSL means secure socket layer and TLS is transport layer security. You've probably noticed a closed lockpad and the name of an SSL certificate on certain web pages or at the bottom of the window. SSL certificates are a way of websites letter users know that they are safe and legitimate. There are ways around this but I'm not getting into that here. In general this means you're safe. By loading websites this way you're using encryption so that nobody in between can see any data. Encryption and decryption uses a little more CPU power and one must pay for the certificate which is one reason you don't see this stuff everywhere. On pages where it's possible to use SSL you should because nobody can generally see what you're up to. Just because you aren't doing anything malicious (hopefully) doesn't mean you should forego having privacy. It's your business and yours along and you should cherish and protect these freedoms.

  • LastPass - This not only stores passwords for you in a secure fashion but can also automatically generate new ones for you with all the variables you desire. It also optionally can fill out personal info forums for you such as credit card info or general name, e-mail birthday etc when signing up on a new web site. This has become invaluable to me after I found out about it and nowadays I don't even know all my passwords but I know they're as secure as they can be and I can change them whenever and they will always automatically be filled out for me and I'll be automatically logged in when I go to a website.

    But that isn't all you have to do! I always disable cookies from Third Party sites and I'm not sure if I've ever once had to allow these. The only cookies I really want are for logging into certain websites not unlike the one we're on right now. (Interesting how "now" is actually referring to two different times. For me it means the time of this writing but for you it's any later date when you're reading it.) You should also regularly clear cookies, history and all that good stuff. There's an option to delete everything or select file types automatically when you quit the web browser. There's a "private browsing mode" in some browsers. Personally right now I'm not using it but you can if you want.

    I actually recommend using third party open source alternatives for most things regarding personal data because the built in ones are almost always going to be the most exploited because everybody with that browser is using them. Just look at Internet Exploder, I mean Explorer. Oh, by the way never use that for anything. I think the only reason to have it installed is 1) because I don't think it's possible to uninstall it (so keep it up to date) and 2) it's needed for M$ & Win updates. I recommend keeping it as locked down as possible and remove all shortcuts to it.
    If you want to keep track of your previous session-those dozen tabs you had open before FF closed then check out Tab Mix Plus.

    There are a bunch of other helpful or useful ones so check them out and experiment. Don't be afraid to mess with your computer (so long as you're important data is backed up somewhere other than that computer though you shouldn't have anything to worry about with web browser and their addons).

    Some time in the future I'll list open source and privacy respecting alternatives to Google and other sites on the internet. For now I will mention: DuckDuckGo as a great web search that anonymously uses Google and other search engines to compile results.
  • gothfvck: GF logo (Default)
    Just install Ubuntu or Linux Mint or some other flavour that appeals to you then skip to the web browser section.


    There are several things that need to be done on a regular basis when it comes to keeping a computer running. Now, with Windows 7 I believe by default it will do some of these on a regular schedule if your computer is on. This post should cover all operating systems. Except Macs because they don't count. Just kidding, sort of.


    Updates!
    Every day check for and install updates. On WinXP on up and many Linux systems, if not all, you can schedule a time every day or week to either notify you, download or automatically download and install updates. Manually on Debian based Linux distributions open up your favourite terminal then run:
    [code]
    $ apt-get update && aptitude dist-upgrade
    [/code]
    This will run Aptitude and look for updates in the software repositories and then upgrade everything. The "&&" strings the two commands together so you only have to hit {Enter} once; you'll still have to enter in any conformations with this code however. Make sure you're either root or a super user when you run that or it will not work.


    Defragment
    Windows uses the NFTS & FAT16/32 file systems. A file system is the underlying structure of your hard drive. You need to use a file system of some sort or your operating system won't be able to make use of it. I'm not sure what the reasons are for Micro$oft to be using these, I think they just wanted to come up with their own proprietary system here too because they seem far inferior to the Extensible (EXT2, EXT3, & EXT4) FS's. When a file is created on your hard drive (HDD or SDD -- hard drive disk or solid state drive) with NTFS or FAT it doesn't just plop down in one place it gets distributed in several places and thus your hard drive must read from all of them for each file this happens to. That leads to very slow performance when reading and writing anything.

    I strongly recommend using Ultra Defrag. It's an open source free program. This program will work with less free space than the M$ version which requires a minimum of 15% free space last I checked and even after running the M$ version several times there is usually still fragmentation. The first time you run it, it will probably take several hours so you might want to run it before you go to sleep or go to work. Let it do a full optimization. This will completely reorganize the data on your hard drive as well as defragment. I believe it puts all the system files towards the front so it should boot up fast and whatnot. Don't worry it doesn't affect the way you're got stuff organized in your folders, that's all the same, it's the underlying bits that get moved. After this first optimization you can probably just do regular defragments or quick opts..

    I recommend running this weekly or monthly depending on how often you move data around or download stuff.
    P.S. Linux & BSD/other users don't have to worry about this. Mac users probably don't either.


    Disk Clean Ups
    On Win. you can find this in the Control Panel in the application menu. What this does is takes garbage, files you simply don't need, and deletes them to save some space. You might actually want to do this before you defragment.
    On Debian based Linux distributions you can run the following:

    [code]
    $ apt-get autoclean
    [/code]
    This will clear out any downloaded packages that are still sitting around and no longer in use. If you always use the "aptitude" instead of "apt-get" command listed above it will automatically clear out dependencies that are no longer in use. Make sure you're root or a super user again.

    Virus & Other Malware Removal
    You know that annoying thing that pops up saying it's out of date? Just uninstall that as well as any trial versions or things that popped up from that porn site you were on as that one is probably the malware you've been trying to avoid. Just do a web search to see if it's legitimate anti-virus software or not.

    Use Clam AntiVirus. It will run on just about every OS there is an it's open source so if you want to be the next Linus Torvalds here you go. It's free but, the real time scanning feature requires you to buy a copy. It's not the worst I've heard of as far as price and license keys go and you're supporting the largest, best anti-virus software there is. Keep in mind you don't really need that feature as long as you scan files when you download them you'll be safe.
    Run a full scan weekly or monthly depending on how much you use your computer and what filthy parts of the Internet you're crawling around. Pervert, you should probably be scanning every day. Yea, I know where you've been and my eyes have been burned.

    Even if you don't use Winblows you should have some AV software because you probably come into contact with those machines and you can transfer dirty data and infect them. Think of Linux as being a rat. It might not get sick from the disease it carries either within or on it's back but once you come too close you're now got the Bubonic plague.

    Later I will update about passwords, web browsers and addons so I will post this before it is fully ripe.

    If you play World of Warcraft go buy an authenticator immediately.

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