Tech – for Everyone

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

5 Tips For Internet Safety

I normally do not post on Sundays, but recent reader comments have prompted me to re-post this important information – a brief ‘primer’ on online safety.

The Internet Is Not Disneyland

Folks, the Internet is not Disneyland. Most knowledgeable people refer to it as the “wild, wild, West”, (a reference to sheer lawlessness) but I like a different analogy better.. think of it as going into the Big City, and going down to the docks/warehouse district, alone, and at night.
You can do it, but you best be careful.

What you can do to have protection:

1) please read Top 10 things you should do to your computer. It is a checklist, and provides you with the How To’s for a (more) protected_computersecure computer, as well as providing links to important (free) security downloads.

2) Enable an anti-phishing filter, which can help alert you to poisoned websites before you go there. All modern browsers have a filter built in, and all you have to do is turn it on. Or you can add an anti-phishing toolbar/plug-in such as Link Scanner Lite, McAfee’s Site Advisor and/or – the excellent WOT.

3) make sure ALL the programs on your computer are patched and up-to-date. The easiest and most effective way to do this (IMHO) is to download and install the PSI (Personal Software Inspector) from Secunia.
When a window opens telling you updates are available, install them. I don’t care if the timing is inconvenient.

4) Never respond to e-mails asking for personal information. Legitimate businesses never contact you about “important issues” via e-mail. But criminals love to go phishing!

5) Be PARANOID on the Internet. (Use common sense) Think someone can’t trace back to you? Guess again; your browser reveals a wealth of information by default.
Sound too good to be true? It is. There’s no such thing as a “free iPod”… and, no, you did not win the Irish Lottery.
Is looking at sexually explicit material simply irresistible? Go to one of those video rental shops that has a back room instead of clicking links and images.

A malware (aka “virus”) infection can cost you all your files and data and/or several hundred dollars in cleanup.. and/or many hours of your time..

[note: almost all of these things referred to above are “set it, then forget it” simple. You do not have to be an über-geek, or devote hours, to implement them. An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure!]

Today’s recommended reading: What’s On My PC… FREE Layers of Protection!

Today’s free download: K9 Web Protection is a  free Internet filtering and control solution for the home. K9 puts YOU in control of the Internet so you can protect your kids.

* Orig post: 2/4/09

May 16, 2010 - Posted by | computers, how to, Internet, security | , , , , , , ,

16 Comments »

  1. Nice article Paul…
    I agree with all the points you made, especially, point 5. I guess, everybody can keep their computers healthy and infection free if they use this tool — common_sense_2010.exe

    Like

    Comment by Ranjan | May 16, 2010 | Reply

    • Ranjan,
      Love it! It would be nice if common sense were something you could buy and install.

      But, yes, really, with the exception of when a “legitimate” site gets poisoned, or when an advertisement server gets poisoned (with poisoned ads) most of today’s attacks are rather easily avoidable — and often time it boils down to this simple “bumpersticker” phrase: DON’T CLICK THE LINK!

      But the criminals are working very hard at getting their links clicked; using things like search result hijacking, or buying ad space for their own (poisonous) websites, etc. etc..
      We may be winning some battles, but the war was lost a couple years ago.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | May 16, 2010 | Reply

  2. Ya common sense may not be enough in case of infected legitimate web sites but oh well, in that case, combination of common sense and virtualization could be the best bet…

    Like

    Comment by Ranjan | May 16, 2010 | Reply

    • Ranjan,
      Excellent point; and many of the people I talk to think the same. (Some think that is the future of anti-malware.)

      In the over three year course of writing this series (over 1,000 articles) I have discussed this; most recently, Time Travel Fights Infection, which looks at Returnil, Shadow Defender, and Comodo’s Time Machine. (These are programs which basically “sandbox” the whole machine.)

      Another approach (and the one I currently prefer) is to “sandbox” individual executables, i.e., the browser/”browsing session”. My tool of choice for that is the free SandBoxie.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | May 17, 2010 | Reply

  3. […] 5 Tips For Internet Safety: The Internet Is Not Disneyland – Most knowledgeable people refer to it as the “wild, wild, West”, but I like a different analogy better.. think of it as going into the Big City, and going down to the docks/warehouse district, alone, and at night. You can do it, but you best be careful. […]

    Like

    Pingback by Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 17, 2010 « Bill Mullins' Weblog – Tech Thoughts | May 17, 2010 | Reply

  4. Excellent steps to take. Good advice to all of the paranoid computer users out there. Too bad kids need to read this and adhire to what you had to say. Common since is never enough when it comes to the internet now days.. so full of junk and spyware.

    Like

    Comment by Tommy Hilders | May 17, 2010 | Reply

    • Tommy Hilders,
      I agree with your sentiment that common sense (“paranoia”, if you will) is not enough. (Which is why I place the machine hardening and layered defense How To’s as #1… and “use paranoid common sense” as #5.)
      But! Resisting our natural curiosity, and learning to not click on every intriguing tidbit that crosses our online paths, is behavior we need to learn.
      (Sometimes I use a minefield analogy –> you can safely cross it.. if you’re careful.)

      I am trying to educate by increasing awareness, not trying to tell people how to live. I do this because I am – as a repair technician – aware of the percentages: how many have heard of a “rogue antivirus” (or, “scareware”).. and how many know what to do. Abysmally small numbers.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | May 17, 2010 | Reply

  5. TechPaul,

    Just sent this article to everyone in my address book… You nailed it down; especially, the “common sense” part.

    Rick

    Like

    Comment by Ramblinrick | May 17, 2010 | Reply

    • Thank you Rick. Means a lot coming from you.

      Folks, Rick knows a thing or two about these new-fangled comp-u-tatin’ devices, and he writes a wonderful daily series. Visit http://whatsonmypc.wordpress.com/ and see why it’s one of my “must reads”.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | May 17, 2010 | Reply

  6. […] Tech-for Everyone 5 Tips For Internet Safety […]

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    Pingback by Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#60) « What's On My PC | May 19, 2010 | Reply

  7. […] of damage to your computer but if you have an updated Anti Virus on your computer and practice safe web habits your chances of getting a Virus/malware is slimmer. But mistakes happen you type the wrong URL for […]

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    Pingback by Protect Your Computer With “Threat Fire Zero Day Threat Protection” « Slikster, | May 26, 2010 | Reply

  8. Hey nice work u do i like it …..thanks for sharing

    Like

    Comment by subhanali | August 1, 2010 | Reply

    • subhanali,
      I thank you for your support.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | August 1, 2010 | Reply

  9. Nice info, thank’s for share

    Like

    Comment by inisip | August 12, 2010 | Reply

  10. HELP ME PLEASE

    Like

    Comment by Anonymous | September 13, 2010 | Reply

  11. didnt help me

    Like

    Comment by Anonymous | October 10, 2012 | Reply


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