Other strategies to protect yourself

In this document we have covered some easy, effective measures to protect yourself from viruses and other malware. There are lots of other things you can do, but often they take more patience and learning. In this section we will briefly mention some of them. If you are interested in pursuing them further, you can speak to the volunteers at Computer Recycling.

Restrict Javascript

Javascript is a programming language that is used extensively by websites. Javascript is also used by people distributing viruses, so blocking the use of Javascript in your web browser can go a long way to protecting your computer.

One way to restrict the use of Javascript on your computer is via the NoScript Firefox extension. This will allow you to selectively enable and disable Javascript for particular websites.

NoScript extension on Firefox

Unfortunately, without Javascript many websites become unusable, so you will have to spend time training the NoScript extension to allow Javascript on websites you trust.

Be careful about wireless access

When accessing the Internet using a public wireless connection such as a coffee shop or the library, Windows will ask you whether the connection in question should be “Work”, “Home”, or “Public”. For these public locations, you should choose “Public”.

Set Network Location

You should also be careful about what activities you conduct over public wireless networks. In general, it is possible for others to snoop on your web surfing when you are using public wireless connections.

Use a password manager

A password manager will not protect you from viruses directly, but it will help you avoid using the same password for all of your services. That way, if one of your online accounts gets compromised, the people who made the virus will not get access to all of your other accounts as well.

One password manager available on Ninite is KeepPass:

KeepPass on Ninite

This password manager makes you choose one “master password”, which should be long but typeable. Then you can generate completely different, completely random passwords for all of the other services you use.

Consider virtualization

Virtualization is kind of weird: it consists of software that emulates a second computer on your computer. You can then install a second operating system (called a “guest”) on this emulated computer. This allows you to do things like install a running copy of Linux on your Windows computer, or install Windows inside Windows.

In terms of avoiding viruses, this can be helpful in two ways. Firstly, this allows you to sandbox installations of troublesome software, so that they cannot interfere with the rest of your programs. Secondly, virtualization software provides snapshot capabilities that allow you to roll back unwanted changes to your virtualized computer.

One commonly-used virtualization product is Virtualbox:

VirtualBox website

Unfortunately VirtualBox is not available on Ninite, so you have to install the product from its homepage (http://virtualbox.org).