Recently, a friend asked me for advice on internet and laptop security and that got me thinking about all the security habits I've picked up over the years.
The following are some of the best products and services I've used that I can't live without because they work so well and are free or very affordable.
The first thing I did when I recently re-installed the OS on my netbook, was to set the BIOS to only boot from the hardrive and then password protect the BIOS.
Next, in the BIOS, I locked the hardrive and password protected it.
The benefit of these first two steps is that if my netbook is stolen, someone can't just turn it on and easily brows my files and other information or re-install the operating system.
Next, I used Truecrypt to encrypt the entire drive with triple layer 256 bit encryption. This ensures that if someone pulls the drive out of the machine they still won't be able to access my information.
Then, I set a user password.
To protect myself online I use ESET's Nod 32 anti-virus, which I love because it works amazingly well, is small and takes up very few resources while requiring very little hands on maintenance or tweaking.
When surfing online I will often use Sandboxie, a sandbox program, that allows me to surf in a virtual environment. This way, even if I do pick up a virus, everything stays in the sandbox and I can simply delete the sandbox when I have finished surfing. Thus, deleting any and all viruses and malware that I may have come across.
I use Firefox for browsing and have a master password enabled to protect the passwords I use online. However, I don't save important passwords in Firefox. Instead, I use a technique where I create easy to remember passwords by using ordinary English words translated into L337 or Leet, which is an underground computer language. I then have a different password for each category of online use, such as Email, forums and hardware.
When logging in using a wireless hotspot I often use a VPN. I like HotspotVPN as a paid service but as a broke student I use Logmein to remotely access my home computer or I use Logmein Hamachi free VPN.
I hope that you find these tips to be helpful and if you know a product or service that you love, please let me know so I can test it out and possibly add it to the list.
Leet Translator: http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/text/leet