IT Safety Tips from experienced IT Admin Berndt Horst

Many people have asked me for tips to make their computer safer since I am a top class IT Guru and systems administrator. There is an old saying that a magican and an admin never shall reveal his (or hers) secrets. But when it comes to safety, I think it is important to not follow that rule in order to protect yourself from black (evil, not the race) magicians or hackers.

Under here are some of my best It Safety Tips and Tricks!

First of all: surfing on the world wide web is like go out partying during the night in a city you have never before visited. It is a cool and fun adventure - BUT it is also dangerous. Most people and places are good and fun, but there are som evil guy out there. And these guys, called HACKERS, can be very, very dangerous. In order to avoid troubles you should follow my security-tips.

Maybe you already Know Your Enemy! The most popular way of hacking is by social engineering hacks! Just manipulating people by talking or being smooth or pretending to be a systems administrator (always ask for credentials for instance I always bring with me my Microsoft Office '97-certificate from Power Solutions so people can see that I am a serious IT ADMIN) can get hackers/crackers access to important and secret information. In computer hacking crimes, the perpetrator is most often someone you already know, so in that way hacking is alot like rape.

A common hack is to go into the control panel on a computer running windows and change the right button on the mouse to function as the left button and vice versa. So that the button are switched which causes confusion for the user (confusion that can be used in social engineering hacks to steal personal passwords for example). To protect yourself from this it is a good idea to never leave your mouse at the computer you have been using. I have made a special cargo-case for my mouse, so that I can now fit it in my belt (I have it on my left side at all times and my Ericsson cell phone on the right). A good mouse policy is security 101.

Use a simple password that is easy to remember like the name of your pet dog for example. That way you don't have to ask a hacker to hack your account if you forget your password.

Use Windows and even better: Use an older version of windows because hackers don't remember how to hack it. NEVER EVER use a Mac or Linux. Those systems are what hackers use themselves (they want the latest cool stuff) and therefore they know how to hack them easy as one two three. I use Windows 95 on the computers I administer at school and Windows 3.1. at home because it's safer.

I also always have several windows and programs open when surfing. You never know when someone, maybe a hacker, maybe the Government (which I dont trust) are spying on you. By having several windows and programs open att the same time, the people that are watching you are having a harder time to detect what you actually are doing. For instance: I always have at least 3 different Internet Exploerer windows open and the programe Microsoft Access running. Try and spy on Berndt and you will get LOST!

Never, never, NEVER use short commandos. Short commandos might seem "cool" and time saving, but they are not. When using short commandos you are creating short cuts in the computer, short cuts which hackers very easily can infilitrate and use to gain access to your precious hard disk.

Be sure to have the latest Antivirus software. It is easy to stay updated too, just surf around on the Internet and you will get some automatic pop-ups with "Free Antivirus Software". Click download and install it!

Use a smart search application like Bonzi Buddy for example. It makes your searching more effecient and hides your information from Internet Explorer and the government which is crucial for your privacy. It is the anonymous way to search.

Wash your mouse every now and then. Your hands can carry alot of bacteria and it is important to stay hygienic in front of the computer. Viruses is not only dangerous for the computer, they can be to you as well (although you can't get sick from computer viruses, that is a common misconception).

Not really a safety tip: Get a Utili-kilt, they are comfortable and smart - and look really nice as well! All serious admins should have at least one.

I will write more safety tips as soon as I can. In the meanwhile you can contact me on email (i wont give out ICQ uin or mIRC nicks on the web) or write in the guestbook for questions about IT safety.