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Protection Guide

Advice and resources to help you secure your computer and personal information...

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Security

Introduction
This page presents some basic information about protecting your personal information on your computer. We have provided this information to help you become aware of the basic steps necessary to protect and secure your computer system. In addition, we have provided links to various Internet web sites which can further your understanding of security techniques you may employ to protect your PC.

If you do not properly maintain your operating system, security software and program applications, your computer is vulnerable to corruption and unauthorized use. The federal government has recognized the seriousness of threats to business enterprises and government services, so the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team was established in 2003 to protect the nation's Internet infrastructure. The US-CERT coordinates defense against and responses to cyber attacks across the nation.

The following paragraphs will discuss:
  • Your role in maintaining the security of your computer system and personal information.
  • The security risks to your desktop or laptop computer and personal information.
  • Provide some guidelines for avoiding unnecessary computer security risks.
  • Suggest some practical and easy solutions with links to security resources.
If you would like more information than we present in this guide, the Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon University presents a comprehensive tutorial on Home Computer Security or refer to the Other Information Resources and Tutorials presented on this page.

Table of Contents

Infomation Safeguard Your Personal Information
  • Guard your personal information. Don't provide your credit card or bank account data unless you are purchasing an item. Unless your applying for credit, supplying your Social Security number should never be necessary. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for duplicate information that the business already has on file.
  • Know with whom you are dealing. If the web site of a seller or charity is unfamiliar, check with your local or state consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau before dealing with the web site or any individuals representing the business or charity. Get the physical address and phone number in case there is a problem.
  • There is no easy money. If a web site or e-mail claims you can earn money with little or no work, make money on an investment with little risk, or get a credit card or loan even if you have bad credit, it's probably a scam.
  • Think twice before entering contests operated by unfamiliar companies. Fraudulent marketers sometimes use contest entry forms to identify potential victims and acquire personal information.
  • Stay informed about protecting yourself from Internet fraud. To read more on the subject go to the National Consumers League's Internet Fraud Watch.
  • File Compliants with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) which is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). This is a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of suspected criminal or civil violations.
Infomation Identity Theft Resources
  • Identity Theft: Take Charge - Fighting Back Against Identity Theft - Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has produced this booklet to help you remedy the effects of an identity theft. It describes what steps to take, your legal rights, how to handle specific problems you may encounter on the way to clearing your name, and what to watch for in the future...
  • How Not to Get Hooked by a 'Phishing Scam' - Phishing is a high-tech scam that uses spam or pop-up messages to deceive you into disclosing your credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security number, passwords, or other sensitive information. This Federal Trade Commisson Consumer Alert offers ideas how to deal with this growing Internet problem...
  • Anti-Phishing Working Group - Phishing attacks involve the mass distribution of 'spoofed' e-mail messages with return addresses, links, and branding which appear to come from banks, insurance agencies, retailers or credit card companies...
  • Identity Theft - This site by the Federal Trade Commission offers contacts for reporting theft and monitoring your credit reports...
  • Identity Theft Resources - Privacy Rights Clearinghouse offers articles, advice, court cases, and more on identity theft...

Infomation Personal Computer Protection Tips
  • Do not open any files attached to an email from an unknown, suspicious or untrustworthy source. Do not open these files unless you know what it is, even if it appears to come from a friend or acquaintance. Some viruses can replicate themselves and spread through email. Better be safe than sorry and confirm who really sent it.
  • Do not open any files attached to an email if the subject line is questionable or unexpected. To be safe, always save the file to your hard drive and run virus detection software on the file(s) before opening.
  • Delete chain emails and junk email. Do not forward or reply to any of them. These types of emails are considered spam, which is unsolicited, intrusive mail that clogs up the internet, company networks as well as your friends mailbox.
  • Do not download any files from strangers and avoid downloading programs from unfamiliar web sites. Illicit web sites contain viruses that destroy computer files or if you still have a dial-up service, connect your modem to a foreign or domestic telephone number, resulting in expensive phone charges.
  • Exercise caution when downloading files from the Internet. Ensure that the source is a legitimate and reputable. Always ensure your PC anti-virus program checks the files from the download site. If you're uncertain, don't download the file at all or download the file to a temporary folder on your hard drive and test it with your own anti-virus software BEFORE opening or installing.
  • Update your anti-virus software regularly. Over 500 viruses are discovered each and every month, so you will want to be protected. These updates should be at the least the product's virus signature files. You may also need to update the product's scanning engine also.
  • Back up your files on a regular basis. If a virus destroys your files, at least you can replace them with your back-up copy. You should store your backup copy in a separate location from your work files, one that is preferably not on your computer. Try to keep personal files in one major folder on your hard drive and make regular backups to DVD or CD of your files.
  • When in doubt, always err on the side of caution and do not open, download, or execute any files or email attachments. Not executing is the more important of these caveats. Check with your product vendors for updates which include those for your operating system, web browser, word processor, spreadsheet programs and email. If you use Microsoft products, see the security site section of Microsoft located at http://www.microsoft.com/security.
Infomation Popup Ad Blocker Resources
  • The Home & Office Reference Express ® website does not allow pop-up or pop-under ads on our website. To avoid seeing background (pop-under) and pop-up ads, try these free browsers that all automatically block pop-up ads:   Avant - Firefox - Mozilla - Opera - Netscape. The latest version of Internet Explorer, part of WIN XP Service Pack 2, also blocks pop-up ads...
  • The Google Toolbar blocks and eliminates pop-up ads as does the AltaVista Toolbar and Alexa Toolbar - All of these toolbars may be downloaded FREE...
  • Guidescope - This FREE service helps you take control of the Web. Tired of non-stop Web advertising? Guidescope helps you take control of the Web by blocking out ads you don't want, speeds your browsing by blocking ads, makes pages download faster, so you surf faster, stop ad companies from following you around on the Web...
  • Pop-Up Stopper - Pop-Up Stopper FREE Edition features a powerful, yet easy to use, interface which allows quick access to its wide variety of features...
  • WebWasher - WebWasher is a FREE utility that filters out unwanted advertising and protects the surfer's privacy by filtering cookies...
Infomation Virus Resources and Software
  • AVG Anti-Virus - Grisoft AVG Anti-virus is FREE with all the essentials, including a resident memory scanner, an e-mail scanner, and scheduled hard disc scans...
  • How Computer Viruses Work - A short tutorial...
  • Symantec Security Response - Latest list of security threats, risks, vulnerabilities, spam and A-Z list computer viruses, malware, adware, spyware, trojans and protentially unwanted apps...
Infomation Spyware / Adware Resources and Software
  • Ad-aware - Lavasoft Ad-Aware FREE spyware removal scans RAM, Registry, hard drives, and external storage devices for known data-mining, advertising, and tracking components. Cleans your system, allowing you to maintain a higher degree of privacy while on the Web...
  • Check your PC for spyware - This site checks for basic browswer parasites. Unsolicited commercial software is DOXdesk's name for the annoying breed of software that gets on your computer without you asking for it. These encompasses many kinds of spyware, adware, browser hijackers, diallers and other assorted unwelcome guests...
  • How Spyware Works - A short tutorial...
  • PC Hell - Spyware and Adware Removal Help and Resouces...
  • PC Pitstop - FREE PC diagnostics and tuneups. Includes spyware, performance and privacy scans...
  • PestPatrol Center - Spyware is a fast-growing threat that represents a major security and privacy risk. Spyware is a program that is installed, with or without the user's permission, and can monitor computer activity while broadcasting the information back to an outside party that controls the program...
  • Privacy Bird - Many of the web sites you visit may collect your personal information and use it in ways that might surprise you. Privacy BirdŽ and Privacy Finder are tools that help you find out what web sites will do with your information before you provide it. Privacy Bird is a FREE tool you can add to your Internet Explorer web browser. Privacy Finder is a FREE online search engine that will help you identify web sites that respect your privacy...
  • Spybot Search and Destroy - The FREE version of Search & Destroy detects and removes spyware, a relatively new kind of threat sometimes not covered by common anti-virus applications...
  • Spyware Guide - The Spyware Guide was created to provide an all inclusive and updated resource on spyware applications, what they do and how they are used. These resources include: which software applications can detect and defeat spyware, an extensive database of all known spy software and adware applications and contact information as well as other privacy related products...
  • Spyware Center - Spyware slows down your computer, hijacks your Web browser, and sends your personal information to advertisers. Find out how to combat this threat...
  • Spyware Information Center - The CA Security Advisory Team continually tabulates the most prevalent spyware threats based on reports from eTrust PestPatrol users around the world...
  • Top 25 Spyware and Adware - PC Pitstop site provides weekly updates about which spyware is the most prolific and which spyware threats are growing over time...
  • Webroot Software - Automatically detects and can remove all common forms of malicious programs including Trojans, system monitors, keyloggers and adware...
  • Windows AntiSpyware - Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) is a security technology that helps protect Windows users from spyware and other potentially unwanted software...
Infomation SPAM Blocker Resources and Software
  • MailWasher - MailWasher is a free (for 30-day trial) E-mail checker with effective spam elimination. Discover the safe way to stop unwanted viruses and e-mails before they get to your computer.
  • SPAMfighter - SPAMfighter is a free (for 30-day trial) plug-in for Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express, that automatically and efficiently blocks spam.
  • SpamNet - SpamNet Outlook add-in saves you time and frustration by stopping spam automatically. The service offers a free 30-day trial.
Infomation Firewall Resources and Software
  • How Firewalls Work - A short tutorial...
  • ZoneAlarm - ZoneAlarm is basic network and program firewall to protect you from hacking while on the Web. ZoneAlarm is a top choice, and best of all, the basic version is FREE...
Infomation Browser Hijacking Resources and Software
  • Antispyware vendors come under fire - Some antispyware companies are using deceptive practices and "hijacked" Web browsers to scare Net consumers into buying their products, a leading Internet public interest group told federal regulators...
  • Browser Hijacking - Explanation, prevention, and solutions...
  • HijackThis - Site offers help and discussion forums on Hijacking issues...
  • How to Clear a Hijack - A Hijacker is any software that resets your browser's settings to point to other sites. This document explains how to clear such hijacks of Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) manually and how to prevent it by disabling scripting...
  • Home Page Hijacking - Has Your Browser Been Hijacked? - There is a new type of advertising/marketing that sneaks on to your system without you knowing it; its' called 'Browser Hijacking'...
  • StartPage Guard - StartPage Guard (SPG) FREEware monitors the status of your web browser StartPage address and prevents it from being changed by any script or program...
  • SpyWareBlaster - SpywareBlaster is FREEware and can help keep your system spyware-free and secure, without interfering with the "good side" of the web...

Infomation Other Information Resources and Tutorials
  • Consumer Tips: How to Opt-Out of Cookies That Track You - Important consumer information article to help you manage cookies when you browse the Internet...
  • Email Abuse - This site is dedicated to informing users of this potential abuse and providing them with the tools to avoid becoming a victim and to fight back at Email Abusers...
  • Dynamic Web Solutions - A comprehensive collection of information about all types of junk messages - E-mail, telemarketing calls, junk mail, junk faxes, Web and pop-up ads and how to stop them...
  • OnGuard Online - Practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information...
  • Protect Yourself from Unwanted Links - Unwanted Links is devoted to raising consumer awareness about consumer privacy and the problems of spyware and adware programs. We have nothing to sell, we only wish to provide web surfers with information about the various spyware programs that might be affecting their privacy & putting them at risk...
  • Rogue/Suspect Anti-Spyware Products & Web Sites - "Rogue/Suspect" means that these products are of unknown, questionable, or dubious value as anti-spyware protection...
  • Safe Surfing: Part One - PC Pitstop site shows you how various Web sites and software publishers target your children and teenagers with threats such as spyware and adware...
  • Safe Surfing: Part Two - PC Pitstop site looks at what you can teach your kids about how to surf more safely in spite of the dangers. Featured are danger signs that can provide a tip that something is amiss, and show how to respond in a way that can protect your kids and your computer...
  • Safety on the Internet - This site is dedicated to helping the average PC user make full and safe use of the Internet. It is a collection of pages outlining defenses against the various threats and annoyances and the steps that can be taken to ensure that we continue to enjoy the Internet...
  • Yahoo Security Center - Site offers tutorial on protecting your PC, personal information and kid protection while on the Internet...
DISCLAIMER:  We have made every effort to keep information current and as accurate as possible, however, errors may exist. Users of this site agree not to hold the webmaster or owner of this site liable for any damage resulting from the use of advice or information found on this website.

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Site: http://www.referenceexpress.com/ - Last Update: 05/13/2017

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