National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2016


The month of October 2016 is the 13th annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) here in the United States. Internet (cyber) security continues to be at the forefront of our minds as we push further into the 21st century, and once again President Obama has made a presidential proclamation regarding the need for increased cybersecurity:

Technology plays an increasingly significant role in our daily lives. The rise of the Internet has brought incredible opportunity and new ways of innovating and enhancing our way of life — but with great potential also comes heightened risk to our data. Keeping cyberspace secure is a matter of national security, and in order to ensure we can reap the benefits and utility of technology while minimizing the dangers and threats it presents, we must continue to make cybersecurity a top priority. Throughout National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we recognize the role that individuals can play in enhancing cybersecurity, and we join to raise awareness of the importance of securing our information against cyber threats. (Read more)

We all have a part in taking cybersecurity seriously and addressing it in our every day lives. The staff of StopSign Internet Security software is proud to be part of the solution by providing excellent antivirus, antispyware, and firewall software as recommended by the Department of Homeland Security for every computer user in the US.

Special Offer: Once again we’re offering a special discount of 20% off our StopSign Internet Security software (which includes antivirus, antispyware, and firewall software [downloaded separately]) for anyone using the coupon code “NCSAM” during National Cyber Security Awareness Month. To take advantage of this money saving offer, visit the StopSign shopping cart and enter the code to get your special price. (The site will open in a new window.) Please note that the discount will not be applied to the StopSign CD box.

If you don’t see the coupon entry form right away, click on the coupon code link in “Step 2” on the cart to enter your coupon code before you order!


StopSign is proud to endorse NCSAM by helping raise awareness regarding Internet security-related topics. For more information on National Cyber Security Awareness Month or government recommendations on cyber security, please visit

If you're looking for great anti-virus software that won't break the bank, try StopSign. You don't pay extra for tech support for difficult malware, and our web protection software just works. Download & install StopSign to find out why our members choose us over the other options.

An Ounce of Prevention Can Protect Your Identity

An Ounce of Prevention Can Protect Your Identity

Your personal information is important to you.  Or is it?  It should be and you should want to protect it.  But what exactly should you want to protect and what are you protecting it from?  And how do you protect it?  Do you really need to worry about it?  And if so, can’t you just pay a service to do it for you?

Lots of questions and even more answers.  Like noses, everybody’s got an answer…or at least an opinion…and, yes, they all smell!  But some smell better than others.  Get a whiff of these tips…

Your personally identifiable information (PII) can include many things, such as bank account numbers, passwords, credit card numbers, security codes, driver’s license or state-issued ID numbers, date of birth (DOB), addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, and more.  When someone gets their hands on one or more pieces of your PII, it can potentially be used in many ways; most of them are not good.  Cyber criminals can use your information to make purchases on your credit/debit card and withdrawal or transfer funds from your bank account without your knowledge or permission.  They can also assume your identity for the purpose of opening new accounts, obtaining credit or services, or applying for loans – all under your good name!

Many services are available to monitor your information and accounts.  But these services typically alert you after the suspicious activity has occurred on one or more of your accounts.  That could be a day late and a dollar short.   (Maybe several dollars!)  Think of it this way…would you rather prevent the leak in your roof from occurring in the first place, thus, saving you the headache of cleaning up the mess at all?  Or, would you rather wait until the leak happens, making a mess and causing water damage, before you take action?  Waiting too long means a lot more damage and work for you because then you not only have to fix the leaky roof anyway but you have to clean up the mess, too!  It’s the same idea with the maintenance and protection of your valuable information.  An ounce of prevention could save you a lot of headaches down the road.

Try following these guidelines:

  • Do not carry your Social Security card with you and do not give out your Social Security number. Legitimate businesses and vendors recognize the vulnerability created for customers when they are asked to provide their SSN.  Consequently, most don’t ask for it.  And even if they ask, it doesn’t mean you’re obligated to provide it.
  • Do not carry your PIN or passwords in your wallet and choose a PIN number that’s not obvious like consecutive numbers or your birthday.
  • Regularly review your bank statements, credit card invoices, and bills every month.
  • Monitor your credit reports at least once per year.  You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report once every twelve months from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax / Experian / TransUnion).  By requesting your report from one of the bureaus every four months, you can obtain three separate reports over the course of a year.
  • Shred your documents before you throw them in the trash or recycle bin.  Bills, bank statements, credit card statements, cash machine receipts, medical benefits statements, credit card and loan offers, and old credit cards can provide someone digging through your trash with a wealth of information.  Don’t give them that chance.
  • Don’t leave credit, debit, ATM card, or gas station receipts behind at terminals or machines.  Shred them like other personal documents.
  • If you’re not making your bill payments electronically or online, mail them at the post office or use a blue USPS mailbox.  Don’t put your paid bills in your mailbox for pickup.  Identity thieves make a living stealing mail with all that sensitive data.  The amount of damage an ID thief can do with just a signed personal check is limitless.
  • Be suspicious and a little bit paranoid.  Always question when someone asks you for any piece of personal information.  Give out your information sparingly.  Provide as little information as necessary and be very hesitant to give any information to someone who contacts you (vs. someone you have contacted for a specific purpose).  Never give any information to someone calling you on the phone, even if the caller says it will be used to claim a prize or award.
  • Don’t respond to phishing scams, which are fake emails and web sites that appear to be from authentic businesses.  These fakes are trying to get you to provide personal account numbers, logins, and/or passwords.  Legitimate businesses don’t ask you to update your personal information through an email.
  • Don’t click on, open, or download files received in emails or instant messages from anyone, unless you were expecting it and have verified that the file, picture, attachment or website is valid and safe.  Even if the message appears to be from friends, family members, or others with whom you are familiar, be sure to verify with the sender that they really did send it to you and that they are familiar with its contents.  A picture, attachment, or website may contain malicious content.
  • Ignore and delete emails that ask you to forward something on to your friends or contacts and don’t provide any personal information in response to chain emails.
  • Take care not to install programs unwittingly.  Often, software that is free to download online may actually be malware or an infection.  Also, beware of other programs that are bundled with the software you’re intending to download.  Read all user agreements and pay attention to boxes that are checked by default to install an unwanted program.
  • Create and use secure passwords for all accounts online.  Even though it may seem like a hassle, sophisticated software now makes it extremely easy and quick for cyber criminals to crack your passwords if they are less than twelve characters long.  Be creative and make up your own words and use special characters, if allowed.
  • Make sure you know the correct website address you wish to visit and verify it is legitimate before providing any personal information.  Be diligent about ensuring that you are really visiting the website you think you’re visiting, even if it’s one you think you frequent often.  Fake websites are remarkably good at imitating the look and feel of the real thing.
  • Be careful of any advertisements you may click on when visiting a website or that are contained within an email message you’ve received.  They, too, may contain viruses or malware.
  • Always use a firewall on your PC or laptop.  A firewall provides a security barrier between the Internet and your computer, monitoring your connection for suspicious activity and blocking hackers from accessing your machine.
  • Make sure your wireless network (Wi-Fi) is secure.  Lock down your home’s wireless network by using the security features of your wireless router. If you use a Wi-Fi connection away from home, be sure it is secure, or at the very least, avoid sending or receiving personal information over a public connection.
  • Install and always use security software (firewall, antivirus, anti-spyware software) and keep it up-to-date as a safety measure against online intrusions.
  • Always use security software and make sure it includes antivirus, anti- malware, a firewall, an email spam filter, a popup blocker, and protection against identity theft.  Keep the software up-to-date to stay safe and secure against online intrusions.
  • Use an updated Web browser to make sure you’re taking advantage of its current safety features.
  • Don’t share too much personal information online through social networking sites.  Remember, it’s the Internet and once it’s out there, it’s out there to stay.
  • Be sure to destroy all of the digital data on your hard drive when you sell, trade or get rid of an old computer.  The same goes for other storage media like thumb drives, DVD’s, CD’s, etc.  Make sure the data is completely erased and destroyed.  Besides deleting the data and reformatting the hard drive, use a product like Microsoft-backed SDelete to ensure all data is completely wiped beyond recovery from the hard drive.  Completely destroy DVD’s or CD’s by shredding them or cutting them up with scissors.
  • Be aware of the latest scams and use caution to combat fraud.  Share what you learn with your friends and family.

Following these simple preventative measures can save you big headaches down the line.  It could be worth a pound of cure!

If you're looking for great anti-virus software that won't break the bank, try StopSign. You don't pay extra for tech support for difficult malware, and our web protection software just works. Download & install StopSign to find out why our members choose us over the other options.

Clever Tactics Against Clever Spyware

Clever Tactics Against Clever Spyware

Malware continues to grow in both complexity and subtlety, and you’ve got to keep a constant vigil against viruses & spyware to protect your computer and tech gadgets. Virus and spyware detection tools (like our own StopSign Internet Security software) are great, but real computer security starts with you. Knowing what malware comes to us as (i.e. in what form it lands on our computer) is a key to recognizing what to click and what to avoid.

Pictures and software downloads have long been associated with malware. This isn’t to say that all pics and downloads are bad, but it’s best to keep an eye on them before you open them up. Especially if you receive them out of the blue or from an unknown source. Listed below are some different PC security tactics you can use when it comes to attempting to weed out any bad software or files from hopping onto your computer. None of them are foolproof, but they can be a big help in getting rid of potential problems.

  • The Browser Shuffle:

    If you maintain 2 or more different browsers (Internet Explorer and Firefox, for example), you can keep one of them locked down for secure usage (no cookies, no JavaScript, no proxies, etc.) and the other for general surfing. If you find yourself needing to browse to new or unfamiliar sites, just switch over to your secured browser. With fewer parts for potential malware to play with, you’ll help yourself by decreasing your chances of getting a computer infection.

  • Cache/Trash Control:

    I always recommend checking the option (if available) to automatically clear our your browser cache when closing the browser. This makes it a easy way to keep any potential snags away from the browser. It also clears up room for newer bits and pieces of the pages you surf.

  • Dropbox Downloads:

    Using a service like Dropbox will help keep your Inbox cleaned up, and it will also limit who you serve your files to, or who you are served files from. For example, if you know your friend Billy is going to send you a file, have him use Dropbox to keep it clean. This way you’ll know that any new files from Billy in your Inbox might be suspect. (Or it could just mean Billy forgot to use Dropbox)

  • Just Say No:

    Maybe you don’t want to download Billy’s latest funny picture or whatever he’s sending you today. Dropbox or no, just don’t click it. The less you bring into your computer, the less likely you’ll be hit by anything nasty like malware. We’ve all got a friend like Billy who likes to send us lots of junk, don’t we? 🙂

It’s all about being smart about who’s files you choose to open up and/or download, as well as what you keep around. Steering clear of unexpected files is a big first step, but there are plenty of ways to still get the ones you want.

If you're looking for great anti-virus software that won't break the bank, try StopSign. You don't pay extra for tech support for difficult malware, and our web protection software just works. Download & install StopSign to find out why our members choose us over the other options.

Securing Your Wireless Network at Home

Securing Your Wireless Network at Home

As wireless devices become more common, keeping your wireless (AKA WiFi) network at home secure is increasingly important to many people. And while a lot of people keep their WiFi open, we feel it’s erring on the side of caution to go ahead and lock down your wireless network at home.

Looking at 2 opposite sides of the wireless security spectrum, you have well-known security expert Bruce Schneier who allows his home WiFi network to be open and unsecure, which sounds all well and good. But then you read stories about neighbors and/or strangers using your “wireless network for criminal activities” like downloading child porn, and it makes you think twice about keeping an unsecure network.

Here are a few tips you can use to help keep your wireless network secure:

  • Change the username & password on your wireless router:

    Keeping the default factory settings of any device opens you up to hackers who keep track of these things and share them among each other. And creating a good, secure password is a quick and easy way to alleviate the risk of easily hacked WiFi gateways.

  • Use wireless network encryption:

    Wireless routers in recent years all have the ability to use the WiFi Protected Access (WPA/WPA2) protocol. Break out the instruction manual or do a Google search for your router, and figure out how to set up WPA. Older WiFi routers may have WEP, or Wired Equivalent Privacy, but it has some security holes that make it vulnerable to attack and isn’t recommended. If your wireless router doesn’t support WPA/WPA2, then we suggest you get a new one.

  • Update your Internet security software:

    Whether you use StopSign or another product, make sure that you keep it updated. Most antivirus/anti-spyware packages have a mechanism to auto-update itself. Turn that on so you’re always sure to get the latest updates. Keeping your Internet security software updated can help prevent any problems if/when an attacker breaks into your WiFi network and starts to poke around.

  • Change the Service Set Identifier:

    Also known as the SSID, this also come with a default name that tips hackers off when they see it. Most people who aren’t computer savvy leave the default, and that can indicate to a hacker that there may be other easily found vulnerabilities with a particular network. Change the SSID to hedge your bets against the hackers.

  • Remove the ability to log in remotely:

    Most wireless routers come with remote log in turned to off by default, but don’t take a chance. Be sure it’s off, and leave it off.

  • Enable MAC address filtering:

    Not to be confused with Macintosh computers, a MAC address is a unique code on all wireless network cards. MAC address filtering tells your router to only allow devices with a known MAC address to connect to your WiFi.

It may seem like a lot to do, but today’s wireless router manufacturers know the dangers associated with an open WiFi network, and most work hard to make changing these things easy on you. Changing defaults, making secure passwords, and keeping updated Internet security software will to a long way in making your home wireless network secure!

If you're looking for great anti-virus software that won't break the bank, try StopSign. You don't pay extra for tech support for difficult malware, and our web protection software just works. Download & install StopSign to find out why our members choose us over the other options.

The Road to Internet Security

The Road to Internet Security

When it comes to Internet security, most of us have a hard time finding the time to keep up with the latest trends, monitor all of our accounts, and spend a lot of extra time trying to determine whether something is a credible threat or not. It’s not laziness, it’s very often a time management issue. I mean, would you rather spend an hour a day going over a list of possible threats to your Internet security, or would you rather spend that hour with your friends and/or family?

The harsh reality, though, is that if we’re going to be online, we’re going to need to make the time to keep our online life as worry-free as possible. Because if we don’t, there are plenty of identity theft experts and malware-writing authors out there who would love nothing more than to get a piece of our pie. But it’s about striking a balance between Internet security and real life commitments. Luckily, we can take an 80/20 approach to our digital world and still have time for family, work, and hobbies.

With just a few small tweaks to our day, we can all be that much safer, and take a lot of the pressure of dealing with Internet security and online safety off of our shoulders and onto a computer program that will do it for us. Here are some examples:

  • Use strong passwords to lock down your accounts:

    A good, strong password can do wonders for the security of any Internet-enabled accounts you may have. Do yourself a favor and create a great password that you can remember and stop making it easy for would-be hackers from swiping your info. (Yes, it’s possible to create a strong yet easily remembered password)

  • Use, and update, antivirus, antispyware, and firewall software:

    A good Internet security tool is a great way to get a helping hand with automating your online safety and data integrity. With the triple protection of antivirus, antispyware, and firewall software installed (and automatically updated), you’re taking a great step in preventing a bad piece of software from infecting your computer(s).

  • Check privacy settings in your social media profiles:

    LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter… they’re all being targeted by data harvesters and malware authors. Learn how to keep the information private on your social media profiles such as Twitter and Facebook. Doing so will not only prevent embarrassing status updates away from the public eye, but will also make it that much more difficult for others to siphon off your data.

  • Beware all links to photos, videos, and other media:

    Stop being your own worst enemy when it comes to malware. Learn how to really read whether or not that email, tweet, or instant message contains a link to bad software. For example, if a friend, out of the blue, sends you a link to a video or picture and they ask if it’s you? Yeah, very likely your friend got hacked and their account was taken over and sent you that message to make you click on it and help spread the malware. Unless you know that the source of a message sent you a link to online media on purpose, consider all of them suspect. Clicking on every attachment or link that comes your way is a danger, and unless you’re aware of what’s happening, you’re your own worst enemy.

Using the four tips above, you can spend just a few hours (in total) to keep your online life safe and secure from prying eyes. Your Internet security can’t be 100% guaranteed because there are always more folks out there with creative (yet devious) minds who want your info, but keeping things under wraps will make it that much harder for them to be able to take advantage of you.

If you're looking for great anti-virus software that won't break the bank, try StopSign. You don't pay extra for tech support for difficult malware, and our web protection software just works. Download & install StopSign to find out why our members choose us over the other options.

Tax Scams to Look Out For This April 15th.

Tax Scams to Look Out For This April 15th.

A fool and his money are soon parted.

We’re definitely in the middle of tax time here in America, and most people are stressing about one of two things: how much they’re going to have to pay to Uncle Sam or how much he’s going to be giving back. No matter which camp you’re in, it’s always stressful to have to do a financial recap of your whole year while juggling receipts, donation stubs, and all the other joys of tax preparation.

The last thing you want (or need) during tax time is to be hit with some kind of tax scam. You know what I’m talking about; you’ve probably heard your local news mention something about it in a blurb between stories.

I could probably give you a whole slew of advice on how to avoid tax scams like we did last year with our blog post about “IRS tax and refund scams“, but I’m going to be distilling it even further this year and only give you two. The number of tips may seem a little thin, but you’ll see that these two scams account for the majority of all phishing/etc. attempts at tax time.

  • Email scams:

    These are rising in popularity across the board with scammers. Email is so cheap and easy to spread that they can send out millions with the push of a button. Be smart: know who the sender of an email is, and be careful about clicking on any links from emails. It’s not too difficult to create a convincing looking email. My suggestion is that if an email looks legit, trust but verify; Contact the agency that contacts you. And if it is a scam, report it to the IRS.

  • Website scams:

    These should be easier to discern because if the domain name doesn’t end with “” (or at the very least the “.gov” part, since only government agencies can register those domains), then it’s very likely a scam. The IRS and other government offices may direct you to a .com website for informational purposes, but never for anything important wherein you’d be requested to enter personal information. Be sure let the IRS know if you find a possible scam site by reporting tax scam web sites to them.

As a general rule of thumb, the IRS won’t contact taxpayers individually via unsolicited email. And more importantly, they aren’t going to be asking for your Social Security Number, your PIN numbers, or any other sort of personal financial information in said email.

If you're looking for great anti-virus software that won't break the bank, try StopSign. You don't pay extra for tech support for difficult malware, and our web protection software just works. Download & install StopSign to find out why our members choose us over the other options.