Update: 11th Oct 2012
GOOD NEWS! UKULELE COSMOS IS BACK! :-)
The general “internet safety” advice below still holds good, wherever you roam in cyberspace . . .
Alli B, who runs the Ukulele Cosmos forum, worked hard and got the hack-attack problem on the forum in 2012 sorted out very quickly.
Every one of us can take a few simple steps to protect our computers and personal information from hackers, wherever they lurk.
I am not a computer security expert. These are my personal suggestions for the order in which to investigate and take action to protect your computer and your personal information.
01) Firefox web browser | International versions: Get Firefox in your language
Download page for Firefox English GB version
Firefox is recognised as one of the safest, if not the safest, browsers. You can make it even safer by installing specific “add-ons” aka “extensions”.
If you do not like Firefox, have a look at Seamonkey: many Firefox add-ons work with Seamonkey.
Other safer alternatives to Internet Explorer are Google Chrome and Safari. Firefox, Seamonkey, Google Chrome and Safari. All have Google Safe Browsing embedded already.
Information on: Google Safe Browsing
02) “Must Have” Security, Functionality and Performance Add-ons :: Collections :: Add-ons for Firefox
This is a collection of “basic security” Firefox Add-ons that I have put together.
Some of them help to make browsing the internet even safer. Some of them improve Firefox functionality and performance. Not all of them will work with Seamonkey – I will compile a similar collection for Seamonkey.
Note: One of the best ways to protect your self from being ambushed by malware downloads is to use the NoScript add-on. This is available for Firefox and Seamonkey. There are similar-sounding add-ons for other browsers but they will not protect you as comprehensively as NoScript.
03) Viruses, Trojans, Malware – and other aspects of Internet Security: Apple Support Communities
Apple Support Forum – Viruses, Trojans and Malware
Mac computers do not get Mac viruses because no one has bothered to make any (there have been two reported maybe?)
However, Mac computers can get Windows viruses and Mac users might inadvertently pass them on to Windows users, eg. via emails.
Mac computers have been targetted by Trojan malware. If you want to know the difference between viruses and trojans, read the other articles in this set of links.
04) 1 in 5 Macs has malware on it. Does yours? | Naked Security
Sophos Mac Malware Study
Sophos says: “One in every five Mac computers is harbouring some kind of malware, a new study from the experts at Sophos has revealed. Sophos has revealed a disturbingly high level of malware on Mac computers – with both Windows and Mac threats being discovered.”
Sophos provides a free anti-virus app for Macs. There are others around that are as good or perhaps even better. Sophos is one that is generally highly recommended. If you don’t like it, try one of the others – do a search for “best free Mac anti-virus”.
05) Malware – Good to Know – Google
Info from Google about online safety and malware.
06) Strange pop-ups and other malware – Web Search Help
More info from Google about signs of malware.
07) How can I tell if my computer has a virus?
Info from Microsoft about malware.
08) How do I remove a computer virus?
Info from Microsoft about malware removal.
09) How to tell if your computer has the Malware Virus and what to do about it | news10 net
More info about a common type of malware.
10) How to Tell if Your Computer Is Infected by a Trojan Horse
More info about malware: trojan horses
11) StopBadware – Information for Internet Users
More info about malware – very good guidance.
12) Sucuri Blog Search Results
Info about the malware that hackers injected into the Ukulele Cosmos forum.
13) Malware Campaign | Sucuri Blog
More info about the malware that hackers injected into the Ukulele Cosmos forum.
14) Google Diagnostic (updated 11-11-2012)
A site infected with malware will usually show up with a warning next to its name in Google Search Results. Some browsers (see below) will automatically redirect you to a very obvious “warning” page if Google has detected malware on the site.
If you do not use a browser with Google Diagnostic embedded (Firefox, Seamonkey, Safari, Google Chrome) you can use the form or bookmarklet on this page to check if it is safe to visit a site:
Unless your computer is well protected with a fire-wall, anti-virus scanner, etc. it is safest not to visit a site if the diagnostic page says:
“Site is listed as suspicious – visiting this web site may harm your computer.”
As I said above, I am not a computer security expert. If you have better suggestions than I have made above, please post them as comments below.
The Ukulele Cosmos Forum is a great, friendly place to visit. All best wishes to Alli and may the hackers rot in hell!