You can also use cotton or foam swabs
More on cleaning a computer
• Record your keyboard strokes (Keylogger)
• Steal private information such as passwords, credit card numbers,
• Hold your files hostage (Ransomware)
• Use your processing power and internet for nefarious purposes
• Masquerade as a normal program which then installs a virus (Trojan
• Erase your hard drive, cause your computer to malfunction, crash
and become non-responsive (Malware)
• Help infect other computers or attack the internet (bot or zombie
For windows, use windows update. You can go to http://windows.microsoft.com/en-
us/windows/windows-update for more information. Set up for automatic updates.
For a Mac, you can access updates through the app store. For more information go
For Android and Apple devices go to Settings then go to About Device - Software Update for
Android devices and General – About – Software update for Apple Devices.
Avoid using unsupported Operating system (example: Windows XP, Windows Vista,
Mac OS X Leopard)
Upgrade to the newest operating system available for your device when possible
This is also called patching.
Make sure you download programs and plug-ins from their websites or use the
Also make sure you update the apps on your device through Google Play Store
or Apple’s App Store.
A common trick these days is to hide 3rd party software inside utility programs like Java or within
printer programs during the installation process.
The best way to keep junk programs out and prevent other unnecessary changes to your computer is
by paying close attention to what is happening while you are installing any program.
Most companies count on you to not pay attention and rely on users to tap on next, next, I agree.
Another trick to sneak junk software into your computer is by convincing you that the "standard
installation" is best and of course the recommended one.
They may make it sound like you have to be a rocket scientist to go with the "custom installation", but
when you do choose it, you’ll see what they are trying to sneak past you.
Start making it a point to click the custom or advanced option when installing anything new on your
system so you can avoid the junk before it sneaks in.
This tip is the key to avoiding attempts by software companies to take over your browser with
additional toolbars, switching the default search engine or changing your start page.
Make sure you keep these up to date as well.
What to do if your computer gets a virus
1. Go to settings
2. Click on Apps
3. Click on the app
You want to uninstall
4. Click on Uninstall
Or use Windows Disk Cleanup Utility
Before getting rid of your computer /laptop, remove files etc. that you
want to keep then wipe or remove the hard drive
Before getting rid of your mobile device or gaming console, do a factory
Paper is the best.
Password Passphrase generators
Avoid the temptation to use the same user name and password for every
account. Whenever possible, change your passwords every six months.
Whenever possible, use a “pass-phrase” as your answer to account security
questions – such as "Youllneverguessmybrotherinlawsmiddlename"
Increases your security by texting you a code to access your account
Greatly increases security of any account
You know if your account was hacked right away
AKA Two-Step Verification
9. Baits: Do not take any free offers lightly. Think twice before responding to
unsolicited offers such as free screensavers, free downloads such as pirated
software and pornographic images, icons or even virus and spyware protection.
Along with the promised goodies, you may also get ―Adware‖ or ―Spyware‖
that monitors your online activities and floods your screen with pop-ups. If
someone invites you to share the fortune of a Nigerian prince or redeem
winnings from a contest you’ve never entered, don’t do it! Finally, beware of
messages urging you to ―update‖ or ―validate‖your account information online.
No legitimate company will ever request your account number and password via
e-mail. When in doubt, call the company involved on the phone.
Frequent random popups. Popular sign that
you've been hacked is also one of the more
annoying ones. When you're getting random
browser pop-ups from websites that don't
normally generate them, your system has been
Tech support calls from someone claiming to be Microsoft or one if it’s
Fake Antivirus Messages. The fake scan, which always finds tons of "viruses," is a
lure to buy scammer product. Clicking on the provided link sends you to a
professional-looking website, complete with glowing letters of recommendation.
There, they ask you for your credit card number and billing information.
Unwanted browser toolbars. Common sign of exploitation: Your browser has
multiple new toolbars with names that seem to indicate the toolbar is supposed to
Redirected Internet searches. Many hackers make their living by redirecting your
browser somewhere other than you want to go. The hacker gets paid by getting
your clicks to appear on someone else's website, often those who don't know that
the clicks to their site are from malicious redirection
The “Lucky” Phone Call: How fortunate! You’ve won a free gift, an exclusive service, or
a great deal on a trip to Las Vegas. Must hurry because this is a “limited time offer”
809 Area Code Scam: Callers lured into placing calls to the 809 area code (Bahama)
charged large long-distance fees. If you call from the US, you will apparently be charged
Emergency scam: Be cautious if you get a call from a family member or friend claiming
to be in an accident, arrested, or hospitalized while traveling in another country. Never
send money unless you confirm with another family member that it’s true.
Hidden URLs: You'll see them everywhere on Twitter, but you never know where
you're going to go since the URL ("Uniform Resource Locator," the Web address)
hides the full location. Clicking on such a link could direct you to your intended site,
or one that installs all sorts of malware on your computer. (Bitly, Goo.gl, Ow.ly, etc.).
So always put your cursor over the link and read the address that comes up at the
bottom of the browser. You can tell if it is a bad address or not.
Account Takeover Fraud - Financial identity theft in the form of account takeover
fraud generally means using another person's account information (e.g., a credit
card number) to obtain products and services using that person's existing accounts.
IRS will never call or email with problems. Will always mail through USPS.
•Social media: Scams on social platforms are also on the rise. Victims do the work of the
cybercriminals by sharing videos or stories with their friends that include links to
sketchy sites. Spread rapidly because people are more likely to click on something
by a friend. https://www.datadoctors.com/media/tips/1433
•Your friends receive social media invitations from you that you didn’t send. Either you
or your friends receive invitations to “be a friend” when you are already connected
friends on that social media site. Your friend may contact you to find out why you are
sending out new friend requests. The hacker either controls your social media site, has
created a second near-look-alike bogus page, or you or friend has installed a rogue
social media application.
•Likejacking: Using fake "like" buttons, hackers trick people into clicking on website
buttons that install malware and may post updates on a user's news feed, spreading the
•Facebook “Like” Farming - Someone will post to Facebook and people will like that
post. Then they will like the page it’s on. Then the person changes the page to
something like an ad for a bogus business or a too-good-to-be-true product you can buy
online. Make your page only so Friends can see what you post. That way people don’t
get info about you that they can use against you for id theft.
•Social media gift exchange: It sounds like a great deal; buy one gift and get 36 in return.
But it’s just a variation on a pyramid scheme and it’s illegal.
The popularity of using 2-factor authentication with smartphones has led to various
exploits to usurp this extra layer of protection including SIM swapping or SIM
hijacking. By taking over control of your phone number, hackers can have the
special code sent to a phone that they have in their possession.
They’ve also become very good at fooling victims by calling them posing as an organization
that claims to have detected a break in that wants to verify that the victim is the actual
owner of the account.
They’ll tell the victim that they will be getting a special code on their smartphone that
they need them to read back to ‘verify’ that they are the authentic owner. Of course,
reading back the code allows the remote hacker into the account because they are at the
screen that is asking for the code on their computer.
USB Security Keys
Since the bad guys have found easy ways to side step the security that
smartphone based 2-factor authentication offers, another form of higher level of
security has surfaced in the form of the USB key.
Instead of using a smartphone as the 2nd form of authentication, you would use a
special USB key on your computer, smartphone or tablet that costs $20 to $50.
Once you set them up, a USB security key connected to your device is required in
order to gain access to the protected accounts. There are backup methods to
allow you in, should you lose your USB key, so be sure to set one up if you plan on
To get more of an understanding of your options, checkout the various models from
YubiKey (https://goo.gl/cGQzPY) or Google’s offering called ‘Titan’
Social Media and Facebook Privacy Basics
What you put in the internet stays there
forever! Think before you post.
When connecting to wifi in a public place make sure of the name of the business’ wifi. If a connection
name looks strange don’t connect to it!
Don’t leave your laptop or mobile device unattended. Protect usb drives and external hard drives.
Lock your computer before you leave it. Enable automatic screenlock on your devices.
Evil Twin Attack: Hacker sets up a Wi-Fi access point with the same name as a legitimate network you
have connected to previously and compels your computer or phone to connect to it automatically
without your consent. .
A mobile hotspot is more secure than public Wi-Fi, and it prevents an Internet service
provider from selling your information and online activity to a third party. (In many cases,
companies are legally allowed to do this.)
7. Never plug your devices (mobile phone, tablet and/or laptop) into an
electrical outlet in an airport. Doing so will make you more susceptible to being
hacked. Instead, travel with an external battery charger to keep your devices
War Driving: War driving is a term used to describe the process of a hacker who,
armed with a laptop, smartphone or tablet, uses commonly available software
to troll neighborhoods via a car, bicycle, or even drone to find open or poorly
protected WiFi networks
What is cache and browsing history?
What are Cookies
IP address: When your computer connects to the Internet, it's given a unique number
that distinguishes it from every other computer on the Internet. Websites that you
connect to can see this address, and can use parts of it to figure out what country,
region, or even city you live in.
User-agent strings: These are lines of computer code that identify what program
you're using to connect to the Internet or World Wide Web. Using these, trackers can
tell what type of browser you're using (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and so
Data Flow, the way digital information moves in a given process.
What Is Data Mining?
In recent news, you've probably heard something about Big Data and data mining. Data
mining means searching for patterns and relationships in large collections of data—often
called Big Data. Data has always been analyzed for patterns, but computers have made
collecting, storing, and analyzing data far more efficient and commonplace. Through the
process of automatic inference, these patterns are used to find trends, draw conclusions,
and sometimes even predict future patterns.
Your Data Is a Valuable Commodity
Data aggregators, also known as data brokers, specialize in learning everything they can
about consumers. There are few limits on what data brokers can do with this this
information, though they don't generally make it publicly available for free. Data brokers
combine information from companies you do business with, online tracking data, and public
records from government websites to make a consumer profile with a unique ID, which may
in turn be sold to an advertising company. These profiles may or may not be linked with
your name—but even an "anonymous" profile compiled by a data broker probably has
enough information to uniquely identify you. The more advertisers know about you, the
better they can predict your future behavior.
Everyone has an information (digital) footprint—a trail of information you leave behind
as you use technology.
Limiting Who Sees Your Footprint
You can limit who sees your information footprint by talking to your service providers,
being selective when you share information online, and adjusting your device and app
settings to optimize privacy. Your footprint may still be large, but it will be significantly
Lastly, Paige says that even with verified, legitimate nonprofits, it's always important to
take a moment and ask yourself, "Do I want to extend my digital footprint to this
organization?" Be mindful of which personal information you are sharing. Make
decisions with care when signing up for newsletters or giving out information needed
for the purposes of a tax write-off.
"You might not want to be part of their email database. You need to take control of
where your information is being stored," she says.
Give only information that is required on websites. Be careful what you post on social
These search engines do not…
Track your browsing info
Save your searches
No ad targeting
No bias search results
Electronic Payment Apps
If purchasing items online, consider using a
secured payment app, such as those below
Or use gift cards
4. Don’t use a debit card to shop online it can compromise your checking account . Use only one credit card. If
you don't feel safe using a credit card, explore alternative payment options.
•Purchase gift cards from behind the customer-service desk.
•Choose cards with packaging that covers the card number and security code.
•Choose a card with loss or theft protection.
•Watch for any signs that a card has been tampered with, such as a scratched-off pin number.
•Avoid purchasing gift cards from an online auction.
•If a card is preloaded, ask for the card to be scanned to verify its value.
•Keep the receipt from a gift-card purchase.
•Protect your card: Some gift cards can be registered as credit cards on websites listed on the card, which can
protect them against theft or loss. Also take photos of the front and back of the card or write down card details as
some companies will replace lost or stolen cards if you can provide specifics. Receipts with card information are
good to hold on too.
•Free gift cards: Pop-up ads or email offering free gift cards are often just a ploy to get your personal information
that can later be used for identity theft. Only buy gift cards from brick and mortar stores or directly from their
Unusual forms of payment: Be wary of anyone who asks you to pay for holiday purchases using prepaid debit
cards, gift cards, wire transfers, third parties, etc. These payments cannot be traced and cannot be undone.
5. Never complete or accept a payment for an item outside of the website that it's listed on.
2. Read the ratings and reviews on items and sellers. Beware of fake reviews.
3. Before you buy an item, read its returns and refunds policy carefully.
Also, read safety tips on websites like ebay and craigslist.
6. Don’t use public wifi to shop unless you use a VPN
Fake retail site or look a like sites scam You come across the item you want at a super low price being sold at a website
you never heard of. To make your purchase you need to input your credit card information. You could be giving your
number to a crook who will in turn use it to make bogus charges or even sell your number.
Avoid getting your packages stolen (aka Porch Pirates)
Pick-up your packages promptly
Ship to Another Location (Work, Family, Friend, Neighbor, etc. or have them delivered to a pickup location operated by
the carrier or vendor Ex Amazon. )
Leave special instructions for delivery (either with a note or while ordering the item)
Require a Signature
Track your package
Shipping confirmation ploy You get an email or phone call from the US Postal service or major carrier. You’re told that
you have a package waiting for you or that it was delivered to someone else by mistake. In order to make sure you are
the correct recipient, you’re asked to submit personal information including your name, address, date of birth, and
social security number. Crooks can use this information to steal your identity and open accounts in your name.
Fake shipping notifications: These can have attachments or links to sites that will download malware on your computer
to steal your identity and your passwords. Don’t be fooled by a holiday phishing scam.
Fake purchase confirmation: If you get an email from a retailer, but didn’t make the purchase it mentions, “don’t click
on anything in that email.”
Opt out of credit card offers
Charity Cons: Unless you dialed the call, don't provide a credit card number over the phone. And before donating, verify an
organization's legitimacy at Charity Navigator or Give.org, or through your state's agency that regulates charities.
Classified ad come-on You find the perfect gift, but it is not being sold in a store. Instead it’s listed in a classified ad on a site such
as Craigslist or Backpage. In order to buy it the vendor asks you to make a wire transfer, use an online escrow service, or pay
through Venmo. You place the order, but the item never arrives. You send emails to the seller, but they go unanswered.
E-cards: Electronic cards can be great fun, but be careful. Two red flags to watch out for are: the sender’s name is not apparent;
you are required to share additional information to get the card.
Letters from Santa: Several trusted companies offer charming and personalized letters from Santa, but scammers mimic them to
get personal information from unsuspecting parents. Check with bbb.org to find out which ones are legitimate.
Phony charities: Everyone is in a generous mood at the holidays, so scammers take advantage of that with fake charity
solicitations in email, on social media sites, and even by text. Check out charities at give.org before donating.
Temporary holiday jobs: Retailers and delivery services need extra help at the holidays, but beware of solicitations that require
you to share personal information online or pay for a job lead. Apply in person or go to retailers’ main websites to find out who is
Faux Freebies From iPhones to cruises, the holidays are the time for emails, text messages and social media posts that promise
free merchandise. Many of them are a ploy to install malware once you click on a link for details. Others lead to online surveys
designed to steal personal information for possible identity theft or to set you up as a future target for scammers. Some bogus
offers for freebies require your credit card, saying it is necessary to cover shipping costs or a deposit. That often leads to
unnecessary charges on your bill. Before taking the bait, check the manufacturer’s or provider’s website. If the offer isn’t touted
there, assume it’s the work of thieves.
And think twice before downloading free holiday-themed entertainment, screen savers or mobile apps. Some are specifically
designed to hack personal information, passwords and files from your device.
Survey Swindles: These unexpected emails, text messages and social media posts promise a generous gift card, coupon or actual
products for sharing your opinions about planned purchases or a “recent shopping experience.” But beware: Links that are
supposed to lead you to a survey often hide computer malware. And “questions” about personal or financial information —
including bank and credit accounts for supposed reward deposits — could be a setup for future identity theft
White Label Ticket Scams - Purchase tickets to shows, sporting events,
concerts, from the venue itself or from websites like Ticketmaster. This way you
know the tickets will be legitimate and not fake.
Home repairs and security checks - Emails, phone calls, or in person. People will
tell you they are a contractor or from a security firm. Ignore them.
Lotteries and sweepstakes – If you have to send money in to get your winnings
from a lottery or sweepstakes, it’s a scam.
Shimmer Scams – The shims contain a microchip that can read and
transmit information from your card. Though your chip cannot be cloned
in the same way a chip can, bad guys can glean enough information to
make purchases using the extracted data.
Don’t post on social media that you are on vacation. Post
pictures etc. after you get back.
You don’t have to give out your social security number.
3 dangers to kids on the internet : strangers, friends, and themselves
Talk to your kids about strangers, posting things (info they share can affect kids in future) etc. Tell kids to
be careful who they talk to, don’t post personal info. Encourage kids that they can come talk to parents.
Dedicated pc for kids in public high traffic area. Set ground rules for using internet, what they can and
can’t do online, and post them by the computer.. Use parental controls and filtering. Familiarize yourself
with your child’s online activities and maintain a dialogue with them about what applications they are
using. Put mobile devices in parent’s room at night (central charging station).
Signs a Child Is Being Bullied
Look for changes in the child. However, be aware that not all children who are bullied exhibit warning
Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school
hungry because they did not eat lunch.
Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about
Change the default username and password that comes with your IOT connected device.
Adware—type of malware that allows popup ads on a computer system, ultimately taking over a user’s Internet browsing.
Antivirus program - software that helps detect and destroy viruses
Botnet—a network of private computers, each of which is called a “bot,” infected with malicious software (malware) and controlled as a group
without the owners' knowledge for nefarious and, often, criminal purposes; computers are typically infected when users open up an
infected attachment or visit an infected website.
Catfish - Someone who creates a fake online profile to intentionally deceive you.
Cyberbullying—bullying that takes place using electronic technology, including the Internet, and related technologies to harm other people, in
a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner; may involve text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking
sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, Web sites, or fake profiles.
Cyberstalking—a criminal offense that involves using the Internet or other technology to stalk or harass an individual, a group of individuals, or
an organization; it may include false accusations, monitoring, making threats, identity theft, damage to data or equipment, or harassment.
Computer virus—a software program that is designed to replicate itself, spread from one computer to another, and interfere with computer
operation; a computer virus may corrupt or delete data on a user’s computer, use an email program to spread itself to other computers, or
even erase everything on a user’s hard disk. Computer viruses can be spread by attachments in email messages or instant messaging
messages; disguised as attachments of images, greeting cards, or audio and video files, and hidden in illicit software or programs that are
downloaded to a computer.
Cookie—also referred to as an “HTTP cookie,” is a small text file that contains a unique ID tag placed on the user’s computer by a Web site to
track pages visited on the site and other information; “tracking cookies” and “third-party tracking cookies” are used to compile long-term
records of individuals’ browsing histories.
Denial of Service Attack—type of online computer attack designed to deprive user or groups of users normally accessible online services;
generally involves effort by hackers to temporarily or indefinitely interrupt or suspend services of a host connected to the Internet.
Encryption—the conversion of digital information into a format unreadable to anyone except those possessing a “key” through which the
encrypted information is converted back into its original form (decryption), making it readable again.
Evil Twin Attack - Hacker sets up a Wi-Fi access point with the same name as a legitimate network you have connected to previously and
compels your computer or phone to connect to it automatically without your consent. .
Firewall—software or hardware that, after checking information coming into a computer from the Internet or an external network, either blocks
the transmission or allows it to pass through, depending on the pre-set firewall settings, preventing access by hackers and malicious
software ; often offered through computer operating systems.
Geotagging—the process of adding geographical location, or label, to photographs, videos, website, SMS messages, QR Codes, or RSS
feeds; a geotag usually consists of latitude and longitude coordinates, altitude, distance, place names, and other details about the origin of
the media being tagged helping users find a variety of online location-specific information.
Ghosting - Theft of the identity of a deceased person to fraudulently open credit accounts, obtain loans or get utility or medical services in the
Hacker - highly skilled computer user who gains entry to information on computers not intended for them by “cracking” the programming codes .
Hash busters: The random words or sentences contained in spam emails that allow these emails to bypass your spam filters.
Keylogger—also called keylogging and keystroke logging, is the action of tracking (or logging) the keys struck on a computer keyboard; usually
runs hidden in the background and automatically records all keystrokes so that users are unaware of its presence and that their actions
are being monitored Malware—short for malicious software, software that disrupts or damages a computer’s operation, gathers sensitive
or private information, or gains access to private computer systems; may include botnets, viruses, worms, Trojans, keyloggers, spyware,
adware, and rootkits.
Malvertising - Malicious online advertising that contains malware — software intended to damage or disable computers.
Man-in-the-middle attack - When a fraudster secretly intercepts and possibly alters messages between two parties who believe they are
securely communicating with each other.
Patch - computer code created to correct a problem (i.e.,bug) within an existing program
Pharming: When hackers use malicious programs to route you to their own websites (often convincing look-alikes of well-known sites), even if
you've correctly typed in the address of the site you want to visit.
phishing - scam email sent to elicit private information from the recipient to be used for identity theft
pirated software - software that has been illegally copied
Pop-ups—or pop-up ads, are a form of online advertising on the World Wide Web intended to attract web traffic or capture email addresses;
created by advertisers, pop-ups generally appear unexpectedly in a small web browser window when a user is linking to a new Web site.
Pop-up blockers—a web browser feature, software, or application that allows users to limit or block pop-up ads; users may often set the
preferred level of blocking, from total blocking to minimal blocking.
Scareware/Ransomeware holds your computer for ransom. It’s a relatively new danger. The scareware will sometimes pretend to be a helpful
piece of software like an antivirus program and may offer a ‘trial version’ or ‘free scan’. Once it has access to your computer, it will tell you your
computer has tons of problems and the only way to fix them is to pay for the full version of the program. Other times it will be more direct and
simply demand money in return for not doing something bad to your computer.
Rootkit—a type of malware that opens a permanent “back door” into a computer system; once installed, a rootkit will allow more and more
viruses to infect a computer as various hackers find the vulnerable computer exposed and attack.
Scareware - A program that displays on-screen warnings of nonexistent infections on your computer to trick you into installing malware or
buying fake antivirus protection.
Skimming - The capture of information from the magnetic stripe on credit and debit cards by "skimmer" devices that are secretly installed on
card-reading systems at gas pumps, ATMs and store checkout counters.
“SMiShing” is the mobile version of phishing, and occurs when someone sends a SMS/text message asking you to provide personal and/ or
financial information by clicking on a link or responding via text or phone number.
spam - unsolicited commercial/junk email
Spear-phishing: Phishing with personalized email, often appearing to be from someone you know.
Spoofing – Email spoofing is when you receive an email message that appears to be from someone other than the actual sender. This method
enables the junk e-mailer to hide his or her identity from the recipient. In spoofing, the sender places a false return address on the junk
message. When spoofed, the recipient has no idea who sent the message and has no way of responding or stopping the problem. Emails
can also contain a spoofed web site address.
spyware - software that covertly gathers user information when connected to the Internet without the user’s knowledge
SSL (secure sockets layer) - format for transmitting private documents over the Internet. It uses a cryptographic system that involves two keys.
surge protector - device that protects the computer from irregular electrical currents
upgrading software - installing a new and improved version of a software program already installed on the computer
(trojan) virus - computer problem created by malcontented computer geeks. Viruses are meant to damage computers and are spread by opening email
attachments or links or using someone else’s disks.
Vishing - Short for "voice phishing," the use of recorded phone messages intended to trick you into revealing sensitive information for identity theft.
War Driving - War driving is a term used to describe the process of a hacker who, armed with a laptop, smartphone or tablet, uses commonly available
software to troll neighborhoods via a car, bicycle, or even drone to find open or poorly protected WiFi networks
Web Cache -, temporary stored web documents such as HTML pages and images. Caching reduces bandwidth use and load time when a web page is
Whaling - Phishing attempt on a "big fish" target (typically corporate executives or payroll departments) by a scammer who poses as its CEO, a company
attorney or a vendor to get payments or sensitive information.
worm - program, not unlike a virus, that replicates itself over a computer network and usually performs malicious actions