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 Going Linux

   for computer users who just want to use Linux to get things done


Basic Linux Security Guidelines

Updated: 17-Oct-2016

In today's world of Internet insecurity, it's more important than ever to maximize your safety and privacy, both on line and off. That's why we think that you should use a computer that runs Linux -- because it's safe. Well it's safer, at least, than the two other most popular operating systems, Microsoft's Windows and Apple's MacOS.

Photo from Unsplash (Creative Commons Zero) by Florian Klauer

According to Canonical, the developer of Ubuntu Linux, there are fewer than 30 viruses and worms that affect Linux computers. By contrast, there are about 140,000 viruses that affect Windows computers. When you use Windows, you must take extra precautions because of the much larger threat. Even so, there are some precautions we recommend you take when using Linux. In reality, these recommendations for Linux users actually apply to ALL computer users, regardless of their computer's operating system.

Here are our Linux security protection recommendations

  1. If you dual-boot with Windows, run Windows in a VM, use WINE, or simply share files with Windows-using friends, install anti-virus software and scan all shared files for viruses.
  2. Enable the software firewall, if it isn't already enabled by default.
  3. Keep your system updated. Updates are delivered automatically on most Linux distributions. Run the updater and install those updates as soon as they are available.
  4. Use strong passwords. On everything. And use a secure password manager to store them.
  5. Make backups regularly, in case something goes wrong and you have to restore from the backup.
  6. Install software applications only from trusted sources. The most trusted source for Linux is the software repository for your distribution. Look there first for the application you want.
  7. Use security-related plugins for your browser that protect your data, credentials and privacy.
  8. Use your common sense. The biggest security threat is generally found between the keyboard and the chair.
What the Linux distributions recommend

Let's not reproduce their hard work. Here are links to what seven popular distributions and one antivirus company say.

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Ultimate Windows security protection guide

This list is from Mike Smith, an independent IT Consultant (MHS Consulting) and IT Professional for the past 30 years. Mike hosts a podcast where he often discusses issues he and his colleagues have had supporting mostly Windows computers, and how those issues have been resolved. (Mike Tech Show Podcast #595 http://mikenation.net/2016/10/06/mike-tech-show-podcast-595-10-06-16/)

Windows Operating System Security

Mike recommends using these programs to help prevent malware infections.

  1. BitDefender Free
  2. MalwareBytes Anti-Malware Premium
  3. MalwareBytes Anti-Exploit
  4. MalwareBytes Anti-Ransomware
  5. Crypto Prevent
  6. WOT (Web of trust)
  7. AdBlock Plus
Routine Windows Maintenance

Mike says, to run Each of these weekly.

  1. Windows Repair Toolbox
  2. JRT (Junkware Removal Tool)
  3. Adwcleaner
  4. RougeKiller
  5. CCleaner

And to run each of these monthly.

  1. Windows update
  2. PatchMyPC
  3. DriverMax

Wow! that's a lot of work just to keep your Windows computer safe. It's also a lot of money since not all of the software you will need is free. Of course you can hire someone like Mike to do all that maintenance for you if you wish. Maybe you don't have that kind of money or you don't want to bother with all that work. Or maybe you simply don't want to have to remember to do all of that maintenance. If any of that describles you, then you might just take our original recommendation. Replace Windows with Ubuntu-MATE, Linux Mint, or almost any other distribution of Linux, practice safe computing, and enjoy the freedom of knowing that you are simply safer using Linux.

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