Proven Security Tips, Tools, and Tactics To Stay Safe Online (Part 2 of 2)

6. Learn what to do if something goes wrong.

(a) If a scammer takes advantage of you through an Internet auction, when you’re shopping online, or in any other way, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

(b) If you get deceptive spam, including email pishing for your information, forward it to “spam at uce.gov” (replace “at” with the @ sign).

Be sure to include the full Internet header of the email. In many email programs, the full “Internet header” is not automatically included in forwarded email messages, so you may need to take additional measures to include the full information needed to detect deceptive pam.

(c) If you believe you have mistakenly given your information to a fraudster, file a complaint at the FTC’s website and then visit their Identity Theft website to learn how to minimize your risk of damage from a potential theft of your identity.

7. Use anti-virus software, a firewall, and anti-spyware software to help keep your computer safe and secure. Don’t be put off by the word “firewall.” It’s not necessary to fully understand how it works; it’s enough to know what it does and why you need it. Firewalls help keep hackers from using your computer to send out your personal information without your permission. While anti-virus software scans incoming email and files, a firewall is like a guard, watching for outside attempts to access your system and blocking communications from and to sources you don’t permit. Some spammers search the Internet for unprotected computers they can control and use anonymously to send unwanted spam emails. They refer to these as “zombie computers”.

If you don’t have up-to-date anti-virus protection and a firewall, spammers may try to install software that lets them route email through your computer, often to thousands of recipients, so that it appears to have come from your account. If this happens, you may receive an overwhelming number of complaints from recipients, and your email account could be shut down by your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Some operating systems and hardware devices come with a built-in firewall that may be shipped in the “off” mode. Make sure you turn it on. For your firewall to be effective, it needs to be set up properly and updated regularly. Check your online “Help” feature for specific instructions.

8. Be sure to set up your operating system and Web browser software properly, and update them regularly. Hackers also take advantage of unsecured Web browsers (like Internet Explorer or Netscape) and operating system software (like Windows or Linux). Lessen your risk by changing the settings in your browser or operating system and increasing your online security. Check the “Tools” or “Options” menus for built-in security features. If you need help understanding your choices, use your “Help” function.

Your operating system also may offer free software patches that close holes in the system that hackers could exploit. In fact, some common operating systems can be set to automatically retrieve and install patches for you. If your system does not do this, bookmark the website for your system’s manufacturer so you can regularly visit and update your system with defenses against the latest attacks. Updating can be as simple as one click. Your email software may help you avoid viruses by giving you the ability to filter certain types of spam. It’s up to you to activate the filter. In addition, consider using operating systems that allow automatic updates.

9. Subscribe to a managed security services. As the best form of protection available today, you get much more than just software. You get professional grade technology coupled with having a team of security experts available to help with any security problem. This level of protection has never been available for homes and small businesses until now, and, because of the increase in online security threats, risks, and attacks, it is becoming the future of Internet security.

Although the Internet basically provides a positive and productive experience, cyber-attacks against our personal privacy and security are reaching epidemic proportions. These attacks are occurring in our own homes and businesses. Our own computers are being used are being used as zombies to attack other people, businesses, and even our nation itself. As an average Internet user, you may not be aware of these threats nor have any idea about the dramatically increasing risks you face when connected to the Internet.

On a campaign for internet safety awareness and protection, my mission is to bring critical awareness to individuals, families, and small business owners, and to provide access to the necessary tools and ongoing expertise to secure your computer and help you stay protected.

I invite you to join the many thousands of others who have tested their computers, discovered these threats are real, and taken the necessary steps to protect themselves.

Now that you have become aware of these issues, I encourage you to share this vital information with your families, friends and communities. Together, we can reach many millions of people and inform them about the threats to their privacy and security, and help them get the protection they desperately need.

Remember: When you say “No!” to hackers and spyware, everyone wins! When you don’t, we all lose! © MMVII, Etienne A. Gibbs, MSW, Internet Safety Advocate and Educator

How to Stay Safe Online

Staying safe online

For many people, the internet is new and exciting. But it can be a very dangerous place.

For increasingly busy people who maybe just pop online quickly to check email it can be very dangerous.

People will tend to get “accustomed” to the type of email they receive – Facebook status updates, newsletter updates and ticket confirmations etc.

Thieves are openly trying to capture personal information and they do it like this.

Firstly, they will collect hundreds if not hundreds of thousands of email addresses from forums, blogs and the like. There is even software to “harvest” these addresses.

The object of the thief is to lure the recipient into revealing sensitive information. This may include passwords and credit card information.

No one is going to knowingly reveal that information so the scammers have to be more cunning.

An email is sent which deliberately tries to jolt the recipient into action by making them temporarily losing control of their senses and taking action they wouldn’t normally take.

Some examples could include

You are due a tax refund
You have received funds (from PayPal or moneybookers)
Your PayPal account has been hijacked

For each example – the user is asked to sign in and confirm their details

Or “questions” from eBay users including

“Is your Sony laptop still for sale?”
“Why have you not sent my goods? I will report you to the police”

Of course they hope the recipient will immediately panic and leave their normal senses aside for a few moments.

Now the scammers are quite clever and they may have either “spoofed” the “from” email to make it look it has come from where it says or formatted the email in the corporate layout of the organisation concerned. (PayPal is blue and black; eBay is yellow, green, red & blue etc etc)

Of course the website where the user is diverted to is a copy of the real one and the scammers may have even registered a similar domain such as

nameofbank-complaints.com

How to spot a fake email and what to do

There are some tell tales signs that the email is not original and these include.

You may not be named in the “to” field of the email. It may just be addressed to [email protected].

This is an indicator that the email has been sent to hundreds if not thousands of recipients.

The text of the email may be in poor English and may contain spelling mistakes. The scam may have originated in non English speaking countries. The marketing departments of large corporations would not have made such mistakes…

The link where the user will be taken is shown at the bottom of the screen BEFORE the user clicks and it is unlikely to be anything to do with the institution.

If you use an anti virus like Kasperksy, it may pick up that the email content contains a virus or a link within it goes to a known fraudulent website.

What to do

The best thing to do with these emails is to just delete them. Replying or clicking any “unsubscribe” link will just confirm that the email address is “live.”

You can forward them to the relevant complaints department at PayPal/eBay etc but it is most likely that someone else will have already done it…

Staying Safe Online

Staying safe online is and has been a hot topic in the news for a while now. There have been stories of fraud, virus ridden computers and online bullying. There are ways you can prevent yourself from losing your privacy online and staying safe.

No matter if you are completely new to the internet and find it a bit overwhelming or you have been using it for years you must always use caution. The following tips will help you to enjoy the internet:

Social Media

When using social media websites such as Facebook and MySpace you must remember to only provide information that you do not mind people who do not know you seeing. So things like date of birth, telephone numbers and addresses are a big no no. If you are planning on holding a party do not just place it on your main page for everyone to see because history has found that people you do not even know see the event and turn up.

Don’t invite people to become your friends if you do not know them as they could be sharing your details with others or they might not even be who they say they are.

Social media is fantastic but it must be used with caution as it can end up being harmful to you.

Online Payments

If you shop online and want to make online payments be aware of whom you are buying from and their privacy policy.

The first thing to look for when typing in credit details and personal information is that there is a padlock either in the web address section of your web browser or the bottom right. This means that the page is encrypted so that the information cannot be seen or stolen. If the padlock isn’t there do not type anything in.

If the online price seems too good to be true it probably is. For instance if the usual price is £200 but someone is selling it for only £80 you really have to investigate the site further and even check site reviews into your search engine. If it has ripped someone off they have probably written a review about it to let everyone know.

Always use a credit card not a debit card when buying online as this way you are insured if fraud does happen and the money hasn’t been taken directly out of your bank account, check with your credit card provider first.

Email Phishing

You will receive emails from people you do not know and you have the following options:

· Look at the email title and if it doesn’t interest you then delete it.
· Open the email to see what is there

If you choose to open the email do not open any attachments as these can contain viruses which will infect your PC.

If the email asks for personal details such as bank details and addresses do not respond what ever you do. Banks do not ask for passwords and details through an email and this is known as phishing.

Downloading

If you like to download music and videos from the internet be sure that you are using a safe source.

The website you are downloading from may have virus filled download files which will infect your PC. The best advice is to use well reviewed and highly regarded websites such as i-tunes as the risk is then minimal. A good anti virus software programme will also prevent this problem by either stopping the download or patching it up.

Yet again if the price seems too good to be true it usually is!

Virus Protection Software

This is a must for any computer user. The amount of people still using the internet without protecting themselves is huge.

If you go onto a poor website that will infect your PC with marketing malware you will find it frustrating. This is also true of bad downloads.

Anti Virus software stops you from visiting bad websites, it filters your spam emails, prevents phishing, blocks hackers and prevents bad downloads. This will mean that your computer is fully protected at all times.

I cannot stress enough the importance of good anti virus software, don’t just go for the cheap option either. One of the best I have used and continue to use without any instance of a problem is Mcafee. There are other great ones available both on disk and for downloading.

Please follow the above tips to make sure that you surf the net safely and protect your expensive equipment.