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    1. #1
      IfasehunReincarnated's Avatar
      IfasehunReincarnated is offline Never Let Them Disrespect the Ancestors

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      Computer Security


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      Home Computer Users Highly Vulnerable

      Kimberly Hill , www.enterprise-security-today.com

      Home computer users who think that they are well protected from malevolent acts should think again. The vast majority of home computers operate at risk of intrusion by invasive code, according to the results of a study conducted by America Online and the National Cyber Security Alliance.

      The results of the research show a huge gap between whether or not computer users think they are at risk and the reality of their situations. Nearly 80 percent of home computer users surveyed thought their computer was very or somewhat safe from online threats. However, nearly 70 percent of home computers did not have current antivirus software installed, and 20 percent of computers were infected with a virus.

      Viruses, Viruses Everywhere

      Outdated software presents one problem to home users looking to protect their machines from viruses. Two-thirds of the users surveyed had not updated their virus software within the last week.

      More surprising, though, is the fact that 15 percent of users reported having no antivirus software at all on their computers. Nearly 20 percent were infected with a virus, and 63 percent said they had been the victim of a virus in the past.

      Spyware on the Rise

      A whopping 80 percent of home computers were infected with some version of spyware or adware, according to the researchers. Among the users of those computers, 88 percent did not know that their computer had such software running.

      The researchers found that the average infected computer had 93 spyware or adware components. Almost all of the infected users (95%) said they never gave permission for the programs to be installed.

      Such code has been the recent subject of legal action. The Federal Trade Committee has filed a complaint in federal court asking that an Internet advertising and software firm owned by "spam king" Sanford Wallace be shut down. Spyware, in particular, is a confusing issue for users, some of whom install supposedly protective software only to find that those programs themselves are spyware, Ari Schwartz, associate director of the Center for Democracy and Technology, told NewsFactor.

      This survey differed from others in that technicians actually visited the homes of participants to assess the state of their computers. A large majority of users requested that the technicians performing the security audits remove spyware from their computers.

      Broadband Free-for-All

      Half of the computers examined that had a broadband connection had no firewall protection. That figure rose to 67 percent when those using dial-up connections were added. Almost 40 percent of those with wireless networks left their connection completely open, without any encryption scheme running.

      Despite the lack of protection, 84 percent of respondents said that they kept sensitive information like health or financial records on their home computer. Nearly three-quarters said they used their home computer for sensitive online transactions, such as banking.
      All is Well. Workin' Hard - Tryin' to Save Time for Fam. Check in Periodically.

    2. #2
      IfasehunReincarnated's Avatar
      IfasehunReincarnated is offline Never Let Them Disrespect the Ancestors

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      1. Update your virus software every week. If you want free anti-virus protection, try AVG Free Edition
      2. Get the newest Microsoft updates, and use the firewall included. Buy an upgraded firewall program if you use broadband.
      3. Scan your computer for spyware and adware, which can sometimes disguise viruses.
      4. Remember that just because it comes up as a search engine result doesnt make a site safe. If a site's description looks odd or the url is odd, skip it altogether.

    3. #3
      IfasehunReincarnated's Avatar
      IfasehunReincarnated is offline Never Let Them Disrespect the Ancestors

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      Signs your PC's under siege, and what you can do
      By Byron Acohido and Jon Swartz, USA TODAY

      If your Windows PC is being used as a zombie, you may notice recurring slowdowns of e-mail and Web browsing. Or you may not be able to e-mail or browse at all. If your PC has been infected with a self-replicating network worm, a dormant backdoor Trojan horse or several other types of stealthy programs, you may not notice anything.

      • Always use a personal firewall with a PC connected to a cable modem, DSL or wireless Internet service. Free ones are listed at www.free-firewall.org. Tip: Have the personal firewall set to at least the medium level of security.

      • Buy anti-virus software, such as Norton AntiVirus, McAfee VirusScan or ZoneLabs Security Suite, and keep the subscription current. Set it to automatically check for updates. Tip: New PCs typically come with a free trial subscription from Norton or McAfee. However, you must subscribe after the trial period expires to continue getting updates.

      • Enable Microsoft Windows Auto-Update to automatically download the latest security patches. Tip: Follow instructions to make sure downloaded patches are also automatically installed.

      • No software vendor will ever send you patches via e-mail. If you get e-mail pretending to be a patch from Microsoft or any other vendor, delete it. Distrust all attachments. If you have even the slightest doubt, delete it without reading.

      • Back up all of your important documents and folders at least once a month, more often if you can stand it. Use complex passwords and periodically change passwords and PINs.

      • Beware of spyware. If you can, use the Mozilla Firefox browser. If you must use Internet Explorer (IE), set the security settings to high; this will disable multimedia features of many Web sites, but also will block a main path intruders use to plant Web contagions. Tip: To set IE security to high, navigate to Tools, Internet options, Security settings.

      • Install, use and regularly update Lavasoft's Ad-Aware and Spybot Search and Destroy anti-spyware programs. Both are free for the downloading. Tip: Be extremely wary of counterfeit versions of Lavasoft's Ad-Aware, spelled slightly different; those are actually spyware.

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