False Positive Watch

While debugging any issue that arises on Windows, my go-to trick is blaming the anti-virus or firewall. It almost always works. As important as these security solutions are, they can be so disruptive at times. For developers this usually comes in the form of a false positive. One day, out of the blue, a user emails you and blames you for trying to infect their computer with Virus.Generic.Not.Really.LOL.Sue.Me.1234775. This happened so many times with NSIS that someone created a false positive list on our wiki.

There are a lot of reasons why this happens and a lot of ways to lower the chances of it happening, but at the end of the day, chances are it’s going to happen. It even happened to Chrome and Windows itself.

So I created False Positive Watch. It’s a simple free service that periodically scans your files using Virus Total and sends you an email if any of your files are erroneously detected as malware. You can then notify the anti-virus vendor so they can fix the false positive before it affects too many of your customers.

I use it to get notifications about NSIS and other projects, but you can use it for your projects too for free. All you need is to supply your email address (for notifications) and upload the file (I delete it from my server after sending it to VirusTotal). In the future I’m going to add an option to just supply the hash instead of the entire file so you can use it with big files or avoid uploading the file if it’s too private.

Staying Safe Online

I have seen a few “staying safe online” guides lately. I wrote one of my own a while back after some of my friends were threatened online and got worried. This guide should be a good starting point for most common casual internet users. It’s important to remember that no matter what you do if it’s online, it can be hacked.

  • Never reuse passwords
    • Some websites are easier to hack than others
    • Hackers will try the same password on other websites
    • Use LastPass for easier management
  • Don’t use simple passwords
    • Hackers guess passwords all the time
    • There are easy automatic tools that enumerate all password options
    • Don’t use your name, birthday, SSN, or any public information in passwords
  • Keep your computer & phone up-to-date
    • Old software has known and easily exploitable vulnerabilities
  • Never click links in emails
    • Clicking the wrong link can give control of your accounts to hackers
    • Manually browse to the website even if the email looks legit
  • Always logout on public computers
    • Preferably never login on public computers in the first place
    • Data can be linger even after logging out
    • Some public computers record your passwords
  • If it was put online, it will stay online
  • Any private information shared can help hacking
    • Your name and birth year can be enough to guess your SSN

Securing Facebook

  • Click the little lock icon on top and follow instructions
    • Set everything to private
    • Hide your birth year
  • Click the little triangle on the top right and choose Settings
    • Enable login alerts to be notified of hacks
    • Enable login approvals
    • Enable trusted contacts in case your account is hacked

Securing Google Account