I've had people ask me about what guidelines, or as I call them, "rules" I follow. So I've decided to share them.
These are the rules I use on our computers, or computer related tasks. Keep in mind, that I'm just putting what is in my head "on paper", so this list will be change later as I add more. These rules aren't in any specific order, they were just put in here, as I remembered them.
Now I know that there will be people that won't agree with my "rules", and that's perfectly fine. However, remember that these "rules", which are the current ones, has evolved over the years, and they've kept our systems virus, malware and hack free since around October/November, 1995.
Remember, a computer to me is only a tool. I don't use them for games, etc.
Here we go:
1. The basis of all these stem from is that the protection of us and our assets are paramount in all cases, as well as protecting my wife and I from any liabilities. Additionally, it is 100% irrelevant on what others think about the rules, or what they think their rights are (note 1). I comes down to that these are our computers, phones, etc, and they have no right to access our stuff without our permission. If they don't like that, tuff.
2. No one uses any of our computers, no matter the circumstances. I have my own computers, and my wife has her own computer.
3. When working on my wife's computer, at her request, I insist she is there seeing what I'm doing. This applies whether I'm sitting at her desk, or she's watches me when I access it remotely. When I sign onto her computer remotely, she gets a notice on the screen to that effect.
4. My computer has no remote access by anyone.
5. No one can use our home network, unless our computers are completely turned off, then they're limited normally to one hour per day.
6. No programs are installed on our live computers, until thoroughly tested on the desktop (test) machine, or on a virtual machine.
7. Nothing is transferred from the test or virtual machines to our live computers.
8. Sample viruses/malware - Do not release the location(s) of where I downloaded the sample viruses from or any information concerning them, regardless of how innocuous it may be, except test results percentages. This is to protect not only myself (liability reasons), but others from getting their computers infected, because proper preventative steps weren't taken. This rule forces the individual(s) to find sample viruses/malware on their own, and thus makes them solely responsible.
9. I will not just uninstall a program to remove it from the computer. I will backup the computer, restore the computer to the image just before the program is installed, and reinstall everything from that point forward. This is one reason all programs are tested, before installing them on our live computers.
10. Use e-mail forwarding to reduce the chance of SPAM or my e-mails being compromised.
11. Backup computers AT LEAST once per week.
12. Nuke, pave and partition new computers immediately, or ASAP (attempt within 30 days) after purchase.
13. Don't install web-cam software.
14. Disable Microsoft defender, better programs are used.
15. Disable Microsoft windows search, better programs are used.
16. Disable Microsoft restore point, I've tested it out, and Microsoft has people bamboozled on thinking it is such a good program.
17. Do not use automatic updates except for AVAST and Malwarebytes, and then just the definitions, not the programs. All other programs must be manually updated. This constitutes a partial rebuild.
18. Before installing or testing a program verify owner/author, and the country of origin. If the country of origin can't be determined, then it is presumed that the author is a hacker, spammer, etc or from one of the bad countries. In other words, hands off.
19. As much as possible, don't download programs from third party sites. There are few exceptions to this, like Avast; they use CNET as their primary download. As of 2014_07, I have the direct download link from AVAST.
20. If a site uses a third party site for download purposes, and the third party site is flagged by Avast, Malwarebytes, etc as having malware, both the third party site, and the author's site is blocked, yes, GUILT BY ASSOCIATION. It was the software author's decision to use the third party site, so they're responsible (guilty).
21. Tech support individuals (e.g. from the ISP) aren't allowed to access our computers. If they aren't willing to walk me through something, then take it to the CEO/President's office. Then if they're fired, it's their fault.
22. Keep Apache Server turned off, unless being used (for development). Disable hard wire and/or wireless before turning on.
23. Use passwords AT LEAST 15 characters long including numbers, mixed case and special characters.
24. Change passwords AT LEAST monthly.
25. Keep speakers turned off, unless listening to music or videos (which is rare). If used, remember to turn them off when done.
26. Turn off all warnings from Action Center.
27. No programs, documents, etc are received directly from any friend, business acquaintance, etc. They must be downloaded personally. Accepting items from a business acquaintance is what got me hit with viruses in 1995. Even then, run a scan on the major virus scan site. The only computers I trust is my computer and my wife's computer, but they are scanned also.
28. Once a site is placed on my black list, it will never be removed.
29. Once an e-mail, be it specific or wild-carded, is placed on my blacklist, it will never be removed.
30. Except for the Microsoft Update, or Microsoft Catalog applets, no ActiveX applets are ran on our computers.
31. Java will not be installed.
32. Although it is possible to receive faxes on our computers, we will not do so, for security reasons. Nor will I pay to get a fax, so whatever "fax" the originator wants to send, it must be sent in plain text, via e-mail, or sent via snail mail.
33. All e-mails are read in plain text.
34. In general terms, most e-mails with attachments are automatically deleted at the server level, before they even get into our mailboxes. To handle the few exceptions that must be considered, very specifically, license for software purchased on line, the following steps are taken:
34.1. The e-mail I use when I purchase software has a special filter, just above the one that deletes attachments. This filter drops all license e-mails into a special folder on the server.
34.2. So far in all cases where the license information hasn't been displayed on my computer screen, so I create a PDF, text and screen capture of the license.
34.3. Once I confirm all of the copies were saved correctly in a "license" folder on my hard drive, then the e-mails on the server are deleted. If I know that there aren't any attachments, then I activate the "license" e-mail in the mail checking program, and my pop e-mail program, download the e-mails, then deactivate the "license" e-mail in the mail checking program and pop e-mail program.
34.4. In all cases, the above steps have only had to be done in maybe 1% of the time, since around 1999. So for all practical purposes, it basically non-existent.
35. Don't use GMail, they are well known for scanning e-mails and performing targeted marketing.
36. Rebuild computers from scratch AT LEAST every 6 months.
37. Don't create, use, or go to sites using url shortners.
38.1. Don't use any programs requiring JAVA.
38.2. Don't install JAVA.
38.3. Don't use sites requiring JAVA.
39.1. Always use the cyber token for bank access.
39.2. Change website (and debit card) pin AT LEAST monthly.
39.2.1. Don't repeat pins for AT LEAST 36 months.
39.3. Keep old pins in an encrypted file, on a USB drive, in the safe.
40. Don't use Skype.
41. Don't use IM software.
42. Do an in-depth defrag AT LEAST once per week.
43. Change the SSID and password on the wireless AT LEAST once per month.
44. Change the admin password on the router/modem, AT LEAST once per month.
45. Download all Windows updates, and install from local files.
1. What I'm referring to here is people may think, for example, they have the right to my e-mail, and to do what they want with it. They would be wrong.