Tips and tricks to help and secure your online work

by log69
5 replies
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Since I am part of this community, I decided to share some of my experiences to help your everyday work on computers. Most of you might easily be familiar of what I'm about to write..

I'm a sysadmin and software developer for long time now and I love improving my everyday work with bits of optimizations and automatizations. The real value in this is that when you optimize a work flow (by saving time for example), the optimization stays, so from that point of time it will continually free up the resources by the saved amount.

What we need for our businesses are security and efficiency. For me, efficiency means speed or saving time and security is important to protect our business data. I'd like to show you some well known and popular solutions which projects I have nothing to do with whatsoever.

For efficiency:
- when doing an online research, you need to open a lot of web pages and even leave them open to inspect their content later
- this can hugely slow down your computer because of the heavy javascript most website usually utilize
- a solution for this can be an addon (extension) to the browser that can suspend scripts or unload tab contents and so free up memory and decrease processor load (your notebook battery might last much longer too)
- an example for firefox browser is the "auto unload tab" addon:
- and for chrome browser "the great suspender":

- we usually need to get back to websites too where they run several type of javascript that freezes our browser or simply tracks things we don't want them to
- another addon called "noscript" can give us full control over what kind of scripts and contents we allow to run:
- this is a not so much for novice users
- another easier usage mode is to use noscript in white list mode istead of the default black list - for this, enable scripts globally and forbid only the ones you want to block - this gives a better user experience but with less security - chose it yourself

- sometimes when using Windows operating system, it can get real slow with full of unwanted applications loading at system boot up
- if your system get stuck and you're in a rush and need a quick fix, feel free to try the Ubuntu operating system without even installing it (you need to boot from a DVD or a flash drive):
Ubuntu PC operating system | Ubuntu
- you get to a desktop with preinstalled software with automatic internet connection where you can start browsing at once
- no viruses around
- hardware compatibility does matter, but the nature of this system is that the industry tries to keep up with it by providing drivers for the latest computer models, wireless and graphic cards
- anyway, feel free to give it a try, you're only from a boot away

For security:
- when visiting a normal http website, all of the data in our communication goes through the internet (the gateways) unencrypted, so they can be easily stolen or tempered with
- this is bad when we provide login information with passwords
- when using a so called https, everything goes encrypted from point to point from our machine to the server serving the website
- "https everywhere" always redirects our browser to the secure version of site if available

- when it comes to storing passwords in our browser, always use a master password to secure them
- this way when someone sits down in front of your computer, they cannot steal your identification that easy
- anyway you can keep your browser open for months by only suspending the machine (closing the lid), just make sure that the computer also asks for a password when coming back from a suspend

- never accept third party cookies in your browser
- this means that a site cannot take over the login informations of other ones
- for example, a site cannot use your facebook or google login without you specifying it explicitly
- in firefox, you can reach this setting at preferences / privacy / accept cookies from sites / accept third-party cookies
- in chrome, the setting is at settings / privacy / content settings... / cookies / block third-party cookies and site data

- always use strong passwords for logins, though this is not an easy task because you need to make a list of them and keep this list secure against stealing or getting lost
- I advise against using online password storage services because a famous one has just recently gotten hacked and this way all of your sensitive info gets leaked at once
- I provide you here a relatively easy procedure that I have never documented anywhere else
- the idea is that you come up with a master password that you document somewhere safe (you must never forget this)
- we use this master password to generate the rest of the other passwords for all sites
- this way you need to remember only a single one, and no matter wherever you are without your computer or phone, you will be able to generate them and so get access to your sites and services
- I show you a method using the Ruby programming language that can be installed on mobile phones or desktop machines (Windows, Mac, Linux)
- let's see Windows: you install Ruby from here:
RubyInstaller for Windows
- always use a strong password for master password
- let's say that your master password is "zhFOq1K7rU" and you want to provide a strong password for your account with your email address:
- to get the strong password, run this Ruby code on your computer:
ruby -e 'require "digest"; puts Digest::SHA1.base64digest("zhFOq1K7rU,hello@gmail. com,")'
- the output that you can use as a strong password is the following:
- the above code uses a one way encryption method called hash by using the master password as a salt to it giving a strongly random output, see more info about it here:
- because you always know your master password, your email address and the website you're about to login to, you will be able to regenerate the strong passwords anytime, for example using different website names too
- you need to use this process in rare cases only, because you usually make your browser remember your passwords
- if the websites says that you need a special character in your password and the above one does not generate one with that, you can just extend the password above with a special character like "+" so you know that if the one above does not work, you need to try it with an extra special character

- if you wanna play around with Ruby. you can do that on an online interpreter here:
- never provide real passwords on a foreign website like this
- you can try the above on this site by typing the following:
require "digest"; puts Digest::SHA1.base64digest("test me")
- if you need a random number, just type rand and hit enter

to be continued...

#efficiency #online #secure #security #tips #tricks #work
  • Profile picture of the author takticz101
    Thanks for the post! Really helpful!
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  • Profile picture of the author munir ahmed
    This is awesome,
    thank you so much
    for sharing...
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  • Profile picture of the author log69
    Part 2

    How to get rid of annoying things in browsers

    People who do Internet related work spend most of their times in their browsers. So it does matter how well things go. Small things get magnified on a long term when used frequently.

    Problem: pop ups open in new windows

    - since we have to work with many things at once usually, I believe that having less windows open in our work environment among many of our frequently used tools could largely improve our work efficiency
    - many web sites use pop up windows to attract things that we don't want to block but it results in several different browser windows getting opened that makes the task of weeding them out pretty tiresome on long term on a daily basis
    - Google makes Chrome and Mozilla manufactures Firefox browser and
    since I prefer better what Mozilla represents from technical and business viewpoints, though Chrome can be a bit faster in some cases, my choice of browser is Firefox, therefore I have more knowledge of that
    - to force Firefox open every pop up window in a tab (we love tabs, right?), do the following:

    - in Firefox browser, open a new page and open the address "about:config"
    - type "open*strict" into the search bar and hit enter
    - double click the line with the name "" in the value column and change its value to "0" (zero)

    Problem: tiny letters in browsers on mobile platform

    - beside impairing your eyes, tiny letters take more energy to read over and take energy of you from other useful things
    - to make the long story short, the industry decided to remove the text wrapping functionality from all browsers preferring design layout against usability (though the web was started based on opposite terms)
    - this function helped you reflow the text when you zoom out a web page containing too small letters by default, so you don't have to scroll sideways
    annoyingly to read some worthless text
    - Google and Mozilla removed this functionality from Chrome and Firefox and Apple claimed they will not implement it in Safari
    - I spent much time figuring out which browser would suit me the best on speed, usability and practical matters
    - so currently as of my best knowledge the only mobile browsers supporting predefined text size or text reflow that are also mature enough with basic requirements are Dolphin and Lightning browsers, where the latter supports both for good
    - Dolphin had problems where Lightning did not (password storage and some other issues), so my choice of browser is Lightning browser which is also a bit faster to load and has a much simpler interface
    - this is currently a one man project (talked to the developer about some feature request) but he put it together from mature technologies, like the Webkit render engine developer by Google for Chrome browser
    - it is worth mentioning that this one is entirely open source

    - on Android platform, install Lightning browser from the app store
    - tap its menu (3 dots) / settings / display settings / enable text reflow
    - also set here the "text size" of your choice, so the pages will render much readable by default
    - on iOS platform, you have to go with the Dolphin browser setting the minimal text size in it

    Problem: we close tabs accidentally

    - when searching for info on the net and having many many tabs open, we might close some of them accidentally getting annoyed and thinking we might have lost some valued info there and it will take a lot of time to find it again

    - reopen recently closed tabs in Firefox and Chrome by hitting "Control + Shift + T"
    - from the menu in Firefox you can reach it at history / recently closed tabs
    - in Chrome you can reach it under history / recently closed

    to be continued...

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    • Profile picture of the author gurupreneur
      Hello log69,

      Excellent list of security measures! I recall using a lot of them when I was in IT at a large company.

      I would like to suggest another way to secure your online work, which is to use a VPN.

      When you connect to a VPN (virtual private network), your Internet connection goes from your computer, to your ISP, to a VPN server and then to the World Wide Web. This type of setup means your ISP can only see 1 connection (to the VPN) and none of your actual online activity, such as the websites you visit or files you download.

      The VPN also encrypts all data that enters it and since all activity runs through the VPN, every single website you visit, file you download/upload and every email you send gets encrypted. This makes it nearly impossible for hackers to ever see your personal activity.

      Millions of people use VPN to secure their activities, from average home users to top executives like Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, etc. Depending on your level of security required, you have 3 common VPN options:

      1) A free VPN service - not necessarily safe or trusted. You do not know if a trusted person is operating the servers. If a trusted person or company is operating the servers, then it can be an effective VPN.

      2) A paid VPN service - Read reviews on your provider to ensure they're a trusted source. There are many quality services available that are easy for the average Internet user to setup for approximately $10/month.

      3) In-house VPN - the most secure solution, but the hardware can be costly and will require a lot of technical knowledge or extra money to hire someone to configure and maintain the server. In-house VPNs are almost always used for CEOs, CFOs and other "elite" businessmen, among other people who need full security of their activities.
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  • Profile picture of the author shauryas
    Make strong and long password and create different password for different account.
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