Linux, Mac, Windows – It doesn’t matter what operating system you run, they can all be attacked if you are not careful!
In my experience, most computers are infected because we are just plain not paying attention.
Here are some basic steps we take on the farm to help prevent infection:
- Email – Turn off html in your email client. Accept mail only in plain text. This will help prevent a message from going out on the web and grabbing malicious code as you read it. We use a nice Thunderbird plugin, Allow HTML Temp to accept html messages from sites that we trust. Also, never open attachments in email unless you were expecting it, from someone you trust!
- Web Browsing – I’ll be blunt here, most virus attackes on the web come from sites that are questionable in the first place! (Would you go to that site with your parents watching over your shoulder?) Sites that feature pornography especially, are often infected. Doing a web search because you heard that a favorite actress was photographed naked, is a great way to find maleware on your computer when you click on a link promising the photo!
To help stop attacks while browsing, and to give yourself a little more privacy, we suggest the following steps be taken. Links go to Firefox Add-ons, but the same can be found for the Google Chrome browser:
- AdBlock Plus – Let’s face it, ads are just plain annoying, and some have been found to contain exploits. Install this, and never be bothered again. You can selectivly decide which web sites will be allowed to display ads if you wish to see them, to support that site.
- Cookie Monster – Allows you to be selective in what cookies you allow to remain on your computer as you surf the web. This will greatly help reduce exploits involving cookies.
Other things to consider:
- Home Router / Modem
- Most router manufacturers provide security upgrades to their software. Log into your router and make sure it’s up to date!
- Turn off remote administration in your router to prevent someone on the web messing with it.
- If your devices support it, turn off SSID in the wifi settings to prevent drive-by connection attempts. If the average person can’t see your router name, it helps keep it more secure. (This will prevent a new device from discovering your router, you’ll need to manually enter the SSID)
- Turn on your router’s Firewall, and only allow the most basic traffic to pass. Ports for on-line games, webcams etc can be open as needed.
- Computer – Is your software up to date?
- Most Linux distributions push updates to users as soon as a vulnerability is found, so make sure you pay attention to that little update icon!
- Antivirus software is available for Linux, and you should use it. The default is called ClamAV, and you should consider installing it. ClamTK is a nice graphical front end for ClamAV so you don’t have to run ClamAV from the console.
- Firewall software also comes with Linux, so even though you have your firewall turned on in your router, turn it on, on your computer too!
- Ourselves – We can be our worst enemy
- Do you just click the first Download button you see when you are searching for something online? It’s a problem mainly with Windows computer users, looking for shareware. Linux users, can protect themselves by only using the Software Manager! Some web sites will put multiple buttons on a page, one might be what you want, but some might be wanting to install pesky search bars in your browser or worse! So, look before you click!
- Password management. Please, use a password manager and never, ever use the same user name and password on 2 different accounts!