How To Protect Yourself and Your Computer Online


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This is a talk I gave at the Monmouth Senior Center in February 2009.

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How To Protect Yourself and Your Computer Online

  1. 1. How to Protect Yourself and Your Computer Online <ul><li>Charles Anderson </li></ul><ul><li>Consultant and Educator </li></ul>
  2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Basic steps to safeguard your computer </li></ul><ul><li>Phishing and online fraud prevention </li></ul><ul><li>Just hitting the high points </li></ul>
  3. 3. Computer Risks <ul><li>Malware literally refers to “bad software” - viruses, worms, spyware </li></ul><ul><li>Malware typically arrives w/o your knowledge </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Be careful what you intentionally install </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Malware Prevention <ul><li>Software Updates </li></ul><ul><li>Anti-virus & anti-spyware </li></ul><ul><li>Firewall </li></ul><ul><li>Be careful/suspicious of free software </li></ul><ul><li>Non-Microsoft alternatives </li></ul>
  5. 5. Prevention - OS Updates <ul><li>Keep the operating system up-to-date via Automatic Updates </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Free service from Microsoft </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be slow over dial-up </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Prevention <ul><li>Install anti-virus & anti-spyware programs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There are free and paid programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>MS has free program - Defender </li></ul></ul><ul><li>These programs must be kept up-to-date, too </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A bigger problem for dial-up </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Run regular scans </li></ul>
  7. 7. Prevention - Firewall <ul><li>Windows comes with a firewall </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As of XP Service Pack 2, it should be on by default </li></ul></ul><ul><li>External hardware firewalls also available - built-in to broadband? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Prevention <ul><li>Be careful/suspicious of free software </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you’ve heard about it from a reputable source, should be OK </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If a program arrives via email - BAD </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use Google to check for complaints about the software </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use the name of program plus words like “spyware” or “virus” </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Alternative Software <ul><li>Microsoft Windows and applications are a big target for the bad guys </li></ul><ul><li>Firefox is a free web browser - safer than Internet Explorer </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Still needs updates </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Thunderbird is a free email program </li></ul><ul><li>Macintosh - not impervious but less of a target and safer </li></ul>
  10. 10. Online Fraud <ul><li>Much online fraud is the same as offline fraud </li></ul><ul><li>Topics include: get rich quick, government grants, IRS checks, false charities, stimulus checks, foreclosure prevention, debt consolidation </li></ul><ul><li>If it sounds too good to be true... </li></ul>
  11. 11. Online Fraud: Phishing <ul><li>Phishing typically refers to sending a fake email in order to collect personal information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can even be a phone call - “vishing” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A type of “social engineering” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Target information: bank account, PayPal, eBay, AOL </li></ul>
  12. 12. Phishing Example
  13. 13. Phishing Example
  14. 14. Phishing Shut Down
  15. 15. Phishing Example
  16. 16. Number of New Phishing Sites Anti-Phishing Working Group October 2006
  17. 17. Why Does Phishing Work? <ul><li>Cheap: send millions of messages for very little cost - even small conversion rate pays </li></ul><ul><li>Hard to track: email is hard to trace back to senders, often hijacked computers </li></ul><ul><li>Web site registrations are cheap and pretty anonymous </li></ul>
  18. 18. How to Avoid Phishing <ul><li>Remember, your bank (or any other business) will never ask you for personal information - “just say no” </li></ul><ul><li>Do not enter any personal information on a web page after clicking on an email link </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Enter the web address yourself by hand </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not a victim until you react to message </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do not fill out forms within email messages </li></ul>
  19. 19. Conclusion <ul><li>Keep your software up-to-date </li></ul><ul><li>Use anti-virus/spyware, up-to-date </li></ul><ul><li>Vista should help </li></ul><ul><li>Be suspicious of email asking for personal information </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware of the “scam du jour” </li></ul>