Everyday that goes by, the bad hackers are always trying to find ways to break into systems, corrupt computers, steal your data, sell your personal accounts to strangers, finding exploits and bringing down websites, or even just to freak you out. I have been studying hacking for quite some time in order to learn ways to protect myself from the internet. From my experience, no matter how much security we use and no matter how good the software is, we are always vulnerable on the internet.

But it’s still better than having no security at all. So I have written out this tutorial in hopes of sharing my experience and helping others who don’t realize how much they are offering to “Cyber Criminals“. You might think ” I don’t need a antivirus, Ive never used one and I’ve always been fine” or ” My bank has a secure connection, I trust them with my details”. But I can tell you now. There’s way more than one way of stealing your information.

So lets get to it shall we :

1. Antivirus
2. MalwareBytes
3. VirusTotal
4. Firewall
5. Remembered Passwords
6. Phishers
7. Key Scrambler
8. User Account Control
9. Bios and Windows Password
10. Internet Account Passwords

All software I am going to list here will be freeware and most likely the easiest to use.

( 1 ) Antivirus

We have a range of antivirus software to choose from, but for this lesson we are going to use a freeware antivirus software called “AVG“.  This product really isn’t bad, from experience it actually performs quite well. Not as well as other payed antivirus’s no, but this is a must have if you do not want to spend your money on software.

Your antivirus can protect you from Viruses, Malware, Spyware, Stealers, Keyloggers, Trojans and more. You will understand more about why you need a antivirus as we go through with this tutorial.

Once you have dowloaded the free version of AVG, install it on your system and do a in depth scan to remove any hidden infections on your computer.

Download AVG

( 2 ) MalwareBytes

MalwareBytes is also another needed application to keep your computer 99% free of malware infestations. It is also a free to use application. I personally use my antivirus system along with MalwareBytes and they seem to run prefectly together. I would normally run my antivirus scan I run my malwarebytes immidiently after and it would pickup even more and clean out my system.

After installing MalwareBytes please run a full system scan to clear out any infestations on your system. After running you antivirus and malwarebytes you should have a slight increase in speed on your computer.

Download MalwareBytes

( 3 ) Virus Total

This is indeed a great website that was created, It is called VirusTotal. It combines all the antivirus applications in one! With all their databases updated and running 24/7. It’s very simple to use if you come across a file on the interet you are not sure about or it looks suspicous just upload it to VirusTotal, a scan will then begin and after a few seconds or sometimes a minute or 2 you will get results from all the antivirus databases.

And best all, It’s FREE with no registration required!

Visit Virus Total

To make things even easier for you, VirusTotal has developed a small addon for windows. With a simple “right click -> Send to -> VirusTotal” your file will be uploaded and scanned for you.

Download Addon Here

( 4 ) Firewall

Firewalls are just as important as antivirus or malware security. These programs act as internet security and monitor internet traffic, anything that comes up as harmfull will be blocked and denied access. For example, If a hacker had to infect you with a “Stealer or Keylogger”, those virus’s use internet traffic in order to work.

Your firewall might pick up on it and it will block that virus/file from accessing the internet keeping your personal data safe on your computer. Stealers and Keyloggers run silently and invisible in the background of the computer, you wouldn’t have a clue you have been infected unless the antivirus or firewall picks up on it.

I’m going to give you 2 choices of Free Firewall Software to download, Please only use one! Using two firewalls at once may cause a conflict on your computer.

COMODO Internet Security / Download

Zone Alarm FireWall / Download

( 5 ) Remembered Passwords

So your browsing the internet, find a nice site and register to it then try logging in. Now have you ever noticed Internet Explorer/Firefox/Chrome asking you “Would you like to remember this password?”. The answer is simple, click “NEVER

Every time you click “remember password” you are saving your password to a file stored on your computer where your browser will retrieve it from later on. Now the clever technique the hackers use is to infect you with a so called “Stealer” This virus will steal that password file and send it over to his online FTP account for example, within a matter of seconds the hacker will have all your logins and passwords to everything you clicked “remember password” for. (ie Bank Accounts, Paypals, Steam accounts and more )

Stealers are advancing everday. At the moment I have seen stealers that steal much more than just your browser logins, it can lead to your MSN and even your personal Windows Serial Key.

( 6 ) Phishers

Phishing is a technique a hacker uses to also steal your personal data ( ie. logins and passwords ) This is done by a uploading a fake but exact copy of a website or something similar with a catchy idea to it, then the hacker sends around the URL for his website for people to logon his website and enter their details. As soon as you enter your details it gets submitted to his website and he will start stealing your accounts.

A good example of this is those fake MSN messages you get from you friends accounts saying ” LOL look at this picture of you “www.example.com/username” When you click that link, it will take you to a phishing website that will most likely say “If you wish to see the picture please login with your MSN details”

Ways to prevent yourself being Phished

  • Do not click on any links that you cannot identify or are suspicious.
  • Speak to the person first about the link they sent you and make sure they sent it to you.
  • OpenDNS also helps with anti-phishing and is FREE
  • There’s also numerous online groups you can report phishing sites to.

( 7 ) Key Scrambler

Every key you press on your keyboard sends a signal to your computer telling your computer what key it was, hackers use a program/virus called a Keylogger to run silently in the background of your computer which sends them every key stroke you make, this way they can desipher your logins, passwords and any valuble data you enter into your keyboard.

A Key Scrambler is software designed to protect you from this, it encrypts the keystrokes you make so only you can see what your typing and the hacker will recieve a bunch of jumbled up meaningless code.
There’s not many good Freeware KeyScramblers out there, but there is a free firefox extention keyscrambler that you can use to protect yourself against keyloggers.

Download FireFox KeyScrambler

( 8 ) User Account Control

Windows Vista and 7 comes with a feature called “User Account Control” This feature enables windows to ask for your permission before running any executable file, This can really protect you from unwanted viruses running in the background of your computer, For example. Say a hacker has infected you with a RAT (Remote administration tool) He/she will then be able to take full control of your entire computer. They can send and recieve files as they please, change your background, send over another virus and even run it on your computer or even steal your files.

With user account control switched on, even if they did infect you with a RAT you can atleast protect yourself against them sending you and running more viruses on your computer, your user account control will popup asking for your permission to run this Unkown file. Obviously if you do not know what is it, you should cancel it.

( 9 ) Bios and Windows Passwords

Protecting your computer with a password is always a good option, even if you have to write down your password somewhere for you to remember it. Always remember to switch your computer off when your not around, hackers now have programs such as “USB Thief”, By easily just inserting their USB stick into your computer it will autorun the virus and send all your personal details,logins and passwords to their USB drive within seconds.

Good ways to prevent access to your computer is of course adding a password to your logon. Although this can easily be bypassed by your average hacker, it will still limit thier time on the computer before you come back. If you are away for a long period of time, I would just suggest setting a bios password to. This is a boot password and your computer will ask for a password even before it starts loading windows.This can prevent hackers from starting up your computer with a portable operating system on their USB sticks.

Accessing your bios is pretty easy but also varies on different models or brands of computers, When you press the power button the computer will start up, then press either F2 or DEL numour times before you enter the bios section, move over to the security side and set a personal password.

( 10 ) Internet Account Passwords

When registering to a website it is always a good idea to use a password that no one would ever think of, using a combination of numbers and letters would make a good strong password. Hackers use a method called BruteForcing to crack accounts open. Bruteforcing works with WordLists, the program will try every possible word known in the database with your login until it finds an exact match. Then the hacker would have access to your account. The more numbers and letters you use in your password, the less likely it will be cracked.

If you have any more idea’s on how to protect yourself, some feedback, questions or just have something to say please do so in the comment box. More comments mean more motivation for me Thank you