Solved How do I make my computer's identity and information secure?

December 17, 2015 at 06:33:53
Specs: Windows 8
How can I make my computer's identity and information more secure?

I have installed a VPN (Private Internet Access) and enabled the DNS Leak prevention and VPN Killswitch when operating on it but recently discovered that my local IP address was still traceable using STUN servers and WebRTC. I was using Firefox as a my browser at the time and switched to Chrome and installed an add-on to prevent WebRTC and verified it with a demo that simulates a STUN server attack.

But I would like to take things a step further. Now that I feel like my actual IP has been accessible for a while I want to know the best way to go about preventing any sort of leaks of any kind happening again, I would like to know how to detect any potential malware beyond a simple antivirus program that would miss things, the best way to understand and build a firewall, how to run a program in the background that would keep track of and identify actions made by my own use and those attempted to be executed or executed by websites or programs I would be otherwise unaware of, if there is something I need to do to scrub my computer of pieces of information that could be used to identify my local IP etc.

I want to make my computer a vault and am eager to learn how to do this. I know this is not a simple question and will do as much research on my own as I need to but would appreciate any suggestions on how to best move forward doing this. I currently run Windows 8 on a Lenovo G50 laptop. Would it be in my best interest to switch to another OS like Linux?


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✔ Best Answer
December 18, 2015 at 15:19:13
Catalysis

I'm afraid you are asking the same thing that half the world is asking. If it was easy all of us would pipe up immediately. Unfortunately security is volatile, the bad guys always being ahead of the good guys. No matter what security program you have on board something or other will break it in time. Security and ease of use always conflict.

Careful browsing can help a lot.

As for Windows, well sandboxing and virtual machine techniques have a value.

A small step I have taken is to use TinyWall, which is an interface to the Windows firewall:
http://tinywall.pados.hu/
It blocks everything each way unless you let it through. No popups but an Autolearn feature when you want it to use it. I've found it works well but as always with firewall type products you have to learn their little ways (but it doesn't take too long).

Anything to do with advert blocking has security benefits (many viruses hang on the back of adverts). Of-course various websites will hate you for it.

Downloading free programs often introduces unwanted goodies that can be as bad as viruses and open other doors. Some folk advocate the use of this program:
http://unchecky.com/

Knowing the best programs to use if something does creep through still has benefits. To me the Minimum is ADWCleaner and MalwareBytes. There are many others including Junkware Removal Tool if you don't mind letting it do its thing without you being able to pick and choose what it removes.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

message edited by Derek



#1
December 17, 2015 at 06:53:54
Hi there,
What a question! Hats off. Really loved it :)
I ll try helping you :)
You seem like you did a lot of research before. So you might maybe also know how vurnerable windows are nowadays, hackers are constantly trying to search for loopholes and attack through them. In that case, you should switch to linux. I personally feel linux more secured than windows.
For the data exchange unknowingly, install a data monitoring application. Keep a firewall that shows all the activities occured without your consent (like sunbelt kerio firewall in windows). And ya, keep an antivirus, updated. A must have.
Any other questions? Just say it out. I will help u :)

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#2
December 17, 2015 at 20:05:47
In addition to what you've done so far you should start wearing a tinfoil hat.

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#3
December 17, 2015 at 20:25:34
Firewall in Windows
Hardware firewall in Router (wired to computer, not WiFi if you are really worried)
Unplug, wait, and replug Modem and Router periodically since this forces your ISP to change your external IP address whenever you do this which will hide you from anyone who has been keeping watch on your address and probing for weaknesses.
Run Disk Clean up to purge collected stuff and also manually clean out browser history, cookies, temp internet files, etc.
Run Malwarebytes regularly.
Don't expect it to keep the Fed's out if they have a reason to look.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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Related Solutions

#4
December 17, 2015 at 20:34:15
Dave, big LOL. There might be reasons why catalysis wants high security though. Its a great question, because inspite of all the security, hackers are still able to find a loophole, so high tech security wants is not a bad thing. But I admit, tinfoil hat was funny :p

message edited by jaysarma987


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#5
December 18, 2015 at 00:12:23
I suppose. It just seemed to me he was looking for a level of protetion that would be difficult or impossible to achieve.

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#6
December 18, 2015 at 00:16:32
Impossible? Nah. Difficult, damn difficult. Maintenance is even more headblowing. But security is good, I must say :)

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#7
December 18, 2015 at 06:04:59
Hey, thank you to everyone who responded. I got a kick out of the tinfoil hat crack...that was a good one! I am not looking for protection from the federal government or any local government and am not doing anything illegal. I just value you my internet security at the moment and computer security and would like to be able to keep it as safe as possible. I think we can all agree that there is nothing too outlandish about that.

I know a fair amount about computers but have never developed a firewall on my computer or for a router. I will definitely look into doing that. So what I have gathered and what you all have said is that Windows is not exactly the best OS to be running for all of this.

Is Linux hard to learn? I know there are various different forms of the OS available and that you can basically customize your OS with add-ons.

Jay, you said you would be willing to help. Would I go about getting it through this question answer forum or is there another part of this website I can go to seek your help with more in depth questions?

I'm sure i could research how to build a firewall for my computer and my router but I am not so sure I would be able to do so properly without a few hangups along the way or even know how to go about ensuring that everything is secure.


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#8
December 18, 2015 at 06:32:46
mmm - tinfoil hats aren't as effective as once were. Particle beam scanners pass through the spaces in between the tinfoil molecular structures - much like water through a sieve... Thus they can gather data and monitor totally unimpeded; and much more effectively too, and they're undetectable by us mere mortals...

And these scanners are "up/out there (Skully)" on the fringes of the atmosphere along with other "unpublished kit" orbiting the planet... Away from prying eyes...

A lead lined box "might" be more useful; especially if also down a deep mine - say about a 1000ft or more?

Goes back to cooking sherry for another top up...


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#9
December 18, 2015 at 07:49:15
yeah i agree to trvlr, tinfoil hats are happily unsafe. happily for the fact that the name is itself funny LOL.
catalysis, yeah i will help you. i will help anyone in this website asking for help. i love to do it :) theres a private message feature if u want to use it, i will help you in any way YOU prefer :) personally i like the public one, as i believe it might sometime in the future might help other people with same problems, or like being referred to this document from a far distant future in the name of research. im not a back to the future geek, im just sayin. LOL

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#10
December 18, 2015 at 08:25:01
Help, suggestions - and hopefully "solutions - are best given in the open/public forums. This way "everyone" benefits at the time; and already mentioned "others" in the future may find the info via web search at some time equally useful?

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#11
December 18, 2015 at 08:49:46
trvlr, and i bet u r not a back to the future geek either. big LOL.
I just love this place :))

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#12
December 18, 2015 at 15:19:13
✔ Best Answer
Catalysis

I'm afraid you are asking the same thing that half the world is asking. If it was easy all of us would pipe up immediately. Unfortunately security is volatile, the bad guys always being ahead of the good guys. No matter what security program you have on board something or other will break it in time. Security and ease of use always conflict.

Careful browsing can help a lot.

As for Windows, well sandboxing and virtual machine techniques have a value.

A small step I have taken is to use TinyWall, which is an interface to the Windows firewall:
http://tinywall.pados.hu/
It blocks everything each way unless you let it through. No popups but an Autolearn feature when you want it to use it. I've found it works well but as always with firewall type products you have to learn their little ways (but it doesn't take too long).

Anything to do with advert blocking has security benefits (many viruses hang on the back of adverts). Of-course various websites will hate you for it.

Downloading free programs often introduces unwanted goodies that can be as bad as viruses and open other doors. Some folk advocate the use of this program:
http://unchecky.com/

Knowing the best programs to use if something does creep through still has benefits. To me the Minimum is ADWCleaner and MalwareBytes. There are many others including Junkware Removal Tool if you don't mind letting it do its thing without you being able to pick and choose what it removes.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

message edited by Derek


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#13
December 18, 2015 at 18:54:01
Derek, Hats off to your follow up too. Everything was interesting, but the tinywall thing was, just awesome!
"It blocks everything each way unless you let it through"
I had this Sunbelt Kerio Personal Firewall back in those days which did the same thing though. But it never updated next, probably shutdown. I tried searching for more firewall products (for xp), but found none as similar to SKPF. Tinywall sounds promising, Ive checked out all the forums in that link you posted. Just out of curiosity, is there an 32bit XP version of tinywall? Its for me though :)

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#14
December 18, 2015 at 20:05:09
jaysarma987

No there isn't one for XP. The current one is 32bit but will run on 64 bit machines from Vista upwards.

I used to use Kerio too. On XP I use a firewall from PC Tools, which is fine. It is no longer supported but I don't regard it as so important to keep firewalls updated. Here is the latest version if you are interested:
http://downloads.tomsguide.com/PC-T...
Google it for more info.

message edited by Derek


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#15
December 18, 2015 at 20:16:52
of course i am interested, if it does give alerts about all incoming/outgoing data + alerts about all the activities going on in the pc. (Something like SKPF - im mentioning it repeatedly cause I loved it back in those times)

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#16
December 18, 2015 at 20:19:52
jaysarma987

Ooops, I've just been editing my #14 so give it a quick re-read so that you're up to date LOL.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

message edited by Derek


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#17
December 19, 2015 at 04:56:12
The biggest threat is yourself.
You can have your system guarded from all sides, the one knocking on your front door still poses the biggest challenge.

Once you let the Hoover salesman in....

Phishing and other unsolicited emails trying to convince you to open that attachment or visit a website are becoming a menace.
My company email address receives 10's of this kind and some are very convincing. The company firewall and filters catches most of them and removes attachments and links but some slip thru. Colleagues had there portables locked up with ransom-ware or other virus/worm/Trojan trying to steal information.


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#18
December 19, 2015 at 05:31:18
I was with family who are visiting from a distant state for my sister's engagement party today and my e-mail on my phone kept hitting me with, "We have a found a solution to your computing.net question..." About the time these notifications became borderline annoying was when I realized: Damn, these guys really like to help!

I also have to make this suggestion: You all are discussing the pros and cons of utilizing a tin foil hat. In my opinion, aluminum is a terrible material to use for protection from invasion into your dome piece from the aliens. It is too malleable, too excellent of a conductor, and far too sensitive to other spectrums of light such as microwaves and will not efficiently block out the likes of gamma or ultraviolet and allow no protection against cranial EMPs. My solution? I melded a hat out of rhenium diboride. It is one of the strongest metallic compounds on the planet rating between 9.5-10 on the Mohs hardness scale and, when made properly, can be just as strong a diamond itself. Highly recommend the investment.

Anyway, back to reality: Derek, thanks a lot for those program suggestions and I will definitely look into them. You are all absolutely right about the most efficient ways viruses and attacks infiltrate one's computer and blocking actions that may not be desired is of the utmost importance.

Now you explain that this program is an addition to the existing firewall on the windows platform. For the moment, until I have time to learn Linux and all that jazz I will be just sticking with Windows. So explain to me this: How can I access the existing firewall on my Windows 8 OS and see what it is currently tasked with doing and to make sure everything that needs to be selected is selected? Where do i find this mysterious firewall? lol

Jay: You mentioned that there are programs that can be run in the background that can be checked to see what actions have been performed on one's computer by both the user and per request of a website. Could you elaborate on this?

Is there a need for me to build a firewall or does the one on my OS currently have one that is sufficient with the help of some add on software? I've relaxed a bit now that I got that WebRTC leak under control and am VERY CAREFUL with browsing. For things requiring security I use Chrome with the WebRTC block add on and it passes the demo each time I test it to see if my local IP can be detected as it had been before.

I recognize that completely making my computer Fort Knox is an impossibility and have become far more relaxed by simply knowing that having a VPN and using the proper browser for sensitive information only and another for other random things.

So no need to "build" a firewall is what I am asking?

By the way, I slept with my rhenium diboride hat on last night. It is a bit heavy and cumbersome and not all that great to sleep with it on but I know one thing for certain: The aliens failed to get inside my head. Today I plan on lining my entire house with solid panels of tungsten carbide layered with lead micro foils. Can never be too safe when you're dealing encounters of the fourth kind... lol


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#19
December 19, 2015 at 06:11:51
Also ensure you sink your critical areas deeper into the ground; say about 6ft and line the walls of the surrounding "terra ferma" with the same material as you use for your "hat"...

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#20
December 19, 2015 at 19:19:40
One thing I should have mentioned is to uninstall Java, or at the very least disable it in your browser (via Control Panel > Java > Security tab) so you can see if you miss it.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#21
December 19, 2015 at 23:25:42
Maybe tinywall does it all I guess :) after going through all the forums in there I can say that without doubt :))

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#22
December 20, 2015 at 07:04:26
Well Yes, if you don't allow Java through it then it should prevent that too.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#23
February 4, 2016 at 08:55:54
"...The biggest threat is yourself. ..." sluc
+1! Each of us is much more responsible than any installed security programs or suites for maintaining a healthy, productive, balance between security and functionality.

message edited by RolandJS


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#24
February 5, 2016 at 16:24:27
Interesting though it all is, somehow I don't believe this is the sort of thing we should be getting involved with on this forum.

message edited by Derek


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#25
February 5, 2016 at 18:27:51
I can most certainly research on my own and find the solutions to my problems and the answers to my questions, however, the accuracy of my finds might be lacking in certain respects which is why I have chosen to address it in public forum.

What you should be considering are the computer and technology related questions as they are what is pertinent. The story that I have vaguely illustrated serves only to provide a context for where or when or how such a computer related conundrum might arise and how it has risen in my personal life.

I am not asking for any information that is criminal. Neither my actions nor my intentions are criminal either. But the questions posed should be all that is addressed and should be done so in a manner that is explicitly technology related.

I have posed some questions for the forum and, with context only to provide a scenario in which it has become applicable, I ask for helpful suggestions and answers. I do not believe this is beyond the scope of ethics within this forum.

Thank you.


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