Have you ever considered how much information you provide to web sites and advertisers when you surf the internet? For instance, if you do not log out of your Facebook, Google or Yahoo accounts, as well as other social network sites, and then surf the web, you are being tracked.

You can use a proxy server to mask some of your internet activity but you must remember to log out of your accounts before browsing the internet. And even if you log out of those accounts, your internet service provider (ISP) logs your activity. Even if you use a proxy, the web site you visited is known to your ISP; the site you are visiting may not know your point of origin, that is, your IP address.

There is another way to surf the internet masking your activity so that your ISP and the site visited does not know your IP address. This can be accomplished using a TOR browser and the TOR service. You need only download the TOR service software that includes the Firefox browser and you are set to surf the internet anonymously. Using the TOR service will be a bit slower due to the many connections it makes, but if security is your main concern, the trade-off is well worth the slight delay.

From the TOR Project site:

“Why Anonymity Matters

Tor protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location.”

Here is the link to the TOR Project:

Here is the link to an overview and explanation of how TOR works:

Happy Surfing.

Hard Disk Encryption

Have you ever considered encrypting your hard drive, or a portion of it, in case your computer falls into hands of someone you do not want to know what’s on it?

Well, there is a simple way of doing this using TrueCrypt software, and it’s free. To download the latest version click HERE. At the time of this writing Windows 8.x is not yet supported as a stable version.

From TrueCrypt’s Documentation page:

“TrueCrypt is software for establishing and maintaining an on-the-fly-encrypted volume (data storage device). On-the-fly encryption means that data is automatically encrypted right before it is saved and decrypted right after it is loaded, without any user intervention. No data stored on an encrypted volume can be read (decrypted) without using the correct password/keyfile(s) or correct encryption keys. Entire file system is encrypted (e.g., file names, folder names, contents of every file, free space, meta data, etc).”

And from their FAQ page:

“I forgot my password – is there any way (‘backdoor’) to recover the files from my TrueCrypt volume?

We have not implemented any kind of ‘backdoor’ in TrueCrypt (and will never implement any ‘backdoor’ or deliberate weakness, even if asked to do so by a government agency), because it would defeat the purpose of the software. TrueCrypt does not allow decryption of data without knowing the correct password or key. We cannot recover your data because we do not know and cannot determine the password you chose or the key you generated using TrueCrypt. If you follow the security requirements listed in this chapter of the documentation, then (to our best knowledge) the only way to recover your files is to try to “crack” the password or the key, which, however, could take thousands or millions of years (depending on the length and quality of the password or keyfiles, on the software/hardware performance, algorithms, and other factors). If you find this hard to believe, consider the fact that even the FBI was not able to decrypt a TrueCrypt volume after a year of trying.” [Emphasis added]

TrueCrypt can also be used on memory sticks. You can encrypt your data on a memory stick from your computer and decrypt the data on another computer. All you need to do is have the TrueCrypt program on your memory stick and you can encrypt and decrypt from any computer.

If you are security conscious and want to keep prying eyes off your computer, TrueCrypt is an excellent option.

Remote Support and Online Meetings

Have you ever wanted to control your computer from a remote terminal or help a friend with their computer from a distance?

This can be done with a free service from TeamViewer.  TeamViewer

You can use their software as a stand-alone program without having to install it on your computer, or install it like any other program. I personally recommend to use it as a stand-alone program.

Download the program from their site, and have your friend do the same. Have your friend launch the program, and it will give him a user name (actually a number) and a password (also a number). You launch the program on your computer and your friend gives you the user name and password and you can then connect to his computer and have control over it. Your friend can watch what you are doing while you are connected to his computer.

If either of your internet connection speeds are slow, choose the low bandwidth option so as not to have too much latency.

How to Deny Access to a Folder

Place the following into your .htaccess file