Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Keeping kids safe on the Internet, cont.

Today is one of those “good news, bad news” kind of days, and the headlines bring me back to a topic I have discussed before– keeping your kids safe(r) on the Web. I wrote a four-part series of articles on (preventative) security steps you can take, and since that has been a while ago now, I would like to take a moment and refer you back to them: to read them, click here.

Loyal friends of this site know that I have an emphasis on computer security, that I take the subject seriously, and that I intensely dislike digital Evil Doers. And so, my readers will not be surprised to learn that I cheered when I saw this headline: “Child porn hacker sentenced to 110 years in prison”.
110 years. That’s a long time.

This particular fella, who got caught, is an example of why it is so important for people to truly and fully comprehend that the Internet IS a dangerous place… and why taking the time and making the effort to put some security measures in place is so important. Can you tell? It’s kind of a passion of mine.

This creep, Ivory Dickerson, of N. Carolina, sent phishing emails or instant messages to female teens trying to trick them into opening a malicious file. If the victims clicked on the file, a trojan was downloaded to their machine, which gave Dickerson and his accomplice remote access to the victims’ PCs. They then attempted to persuade and force the victim to send him erotic images of themselves. If the victims did not comply, Dickerson threatened to hurt their family members or post nude images of them on the web.
He is said to have hacked “more than 100” computers. (To read the Prosecutor’s public statement, click here.)
He was caught because some victims told Law Enforcement that their My Space profiles had been hacked. But since one of the counts was possession of child pornography.. he must have had ‘success’ with some of his targets.

So that’s the good news: they caught one of these… (be nice Paul. This is a public forum.) bad guys, and he didn’t just get a slap on the wrist. (As opposed, say, to this ex-Judge.) But the bad news is, of course, that these guys are out there. And they use the Internet to prey on your kids (The Web is not their only method; I’m not saying that. It’s just one of their vile methods).
If you are a parent, it seems to me that it would be a very good idea to get educated about how these creeps work (the articles mentioned above are a decent resource and have links to other help), about what your kids are doing (and saying) when they are online, and install the software that will help you be proactive. Then, talk with your kids. Your child may be “tech-savvy”, but are they “predator-savvy”?

Is your machine protected? I hope so, because — this from the More Bad News Dept, — F-Secure has reported that malware detections (reported infections: naturally, a lower number than actual infections) have doubled in the last year. These deliberate attacks on our machines are only going to get worse, and it is too early to tell if Vista’s better protection is going to help stem the tide.

Some good news is I am here (six days a week and advertisement-free) doing my best to bring you the tips and how-to’s for a better computing experience. I invite you, as always, to peruse my archived titles and to send me your comments.

That was a little depressing, so..
Today’s free link: I am the type of guy who thinks that Calvin and Hobbes was simply the best comic strip ever (though…Dilbert is a “must read”) and nothing can put a smile on my face faster than a look back at those wonderful frames. If you would like to look at some, check out Digital Calvin and Hobbes.

Copyright 2007 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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December 6, 2007 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, kids and the Internet, PC, security, tech, Windows | , , | 1 Comment