Halloween. We love to decorate our houses, dress up, have fun.
Goblins, witches, even zombies.
But what if our computers join in the fun. Then, it’s no longer so much fun.
A computer can become a zombie. When it does, it can attack us, and even affect our physical world. That has happened in the last couple weeks.
You’ve undoubtedly heard that you should back up your computer. Have you done it? If you’re like most people, the answer is “No.”
But a good backup could save you a lot of distress and also a good amount of money if your data are ever lost. Unfortunately, that happens too often.
Some data loss may not matter much. But most people have something that is important.
A backup is a copy. A backup can even be a paper print-out of information. Or it can be done “electronically.”
If it is important, you should have a backup.
So, your computer has died and you are getting rid of it. Or you are replacing it with a newer one. A lot of people will throw it out or give it away. But, before you do, there’s something you should know.
Your computer probably still has a lot of information on it that someone else can get. Even if you think you got rid of everything.
There are files you have saved, possibly financial and medical information, letters you’ve written, and pictures you’ve stored. There is probably a significant amount of information about places you have visited on the Internet, searches you have done, and possibly even copies of the pages you have visited. Even if you deleted all these files and emptied the recycle bin, the chances are good that there is information on that computer that you haven’t been able to get rid of.
In fact, a lot of the techniques that people use to try to get rid of their data are not nearly as effective as they think they are.
So, before you get rid of it, make sure your data isn’t falling into someone else’s hands.
What kind of web sites can infect your computer?
a) Sites that provide up-to-date news stories
b) Sites about the hottest celebrities
c) Porn sites
d) Sites where professionals go to keep up-to-date on developments in their field
e) Sports sites
f) All of the above
Hint: The answer is not the one that is probably your first guess
(Scroll down for the answer)
Answer: F) All of the above
We are told to be careful of clicking on links. There are some you should not click on, like those that say there is a problem with your account and that say you should click on the link to fix it.
But there are others that look strange or that don’t seem to go where you think you want to end up, but they are actually perfectly OK. There are legitimate reasons for using these. On the other hand, they could also be used for malicious purposes.
The lesson is that you can never be sure where a link is going to take you. You need to exercise caution.
It is hard to tell if a link is safe. But context and whether or not you trust the person providing the link can help.
Security is not just about rules. It is not just about risks. But to understand how to keep safe and protect yourself and your information, you need to understand the risks and the rules and practices that can keep you safe.
Blindly following the rules, even security rules, will not keep you safe. Relying on rules to keep you safe will backfire.
You must be informed. That is why I am providing this information. You must be able to recognize when there is a problem and when you might be at risk. Rules alone will not do that for you.
Today’s extended tip talks about True Security. That may even mean not following the rules. Read about it HERE
Default settings on e-mail programs often put your computer at risk. Changing some of those settings can protect you.
Some of the settings you should consider changing are:
View e-mail as “text” and not as “html”
Turn off the “preview” function
Don’t display external images
Don’t allow executables to run
Details on these settings and why they are important, as well as the drawbacks, are discussed in the extended tip. Ongoing access to the extended tips will be made available in a few days.
Don’t use your computer logged in as an administrator. Make your account a standard user (“Limited” user) and use that account for your daily operation. Only use administrative-level access when you are setting up your computer, installing new software or hardware, and the like. Then return to a limited account for your regular use.
If you get prompts about making changes to your computer, be especially careful. Clicking “Yes” may allow a malicious program to do something destructive to your system.
So you’ve heard about the new app that everyone’s downloading. Or maybe it’s a toolbar. Or some other cool program.
Some of these programs aren’t safe. Some will compromise your phone or computer. Others may make it vulnerable to hackers. Unfortunately, it’s hard to know if it’s safe.
Whether it’s for your phone or your computer, think before you click.
Realize there’s a threat. Do research, where possible. Recognize that you could get compromised.
Don’t use the same password repeatedly. You should ideally have a different password for every place you use a password. At the very minimum, have a different password for each and every place that deals with sensitive information. If someone is able to get one of your passwords, they don’t get automatic access to all the others if your passwords are different.