Security

12/26/12

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Internet Security ---

 

"Minimum Protection" for home computer systems

Purchase a complete Internet Security software package such as Norton Internet Security 2010.  It includes virus protection, spam protection, and an Internet firewall (blocking application.)  It can be found at Best Buy, Costco [$59], SamsClub, online at www.pricewatch.com (go to 'software' at top of page, and then 'internet' to get lowest price sources; OEM is cheapest,) or try www.Froogle.com.   OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) is full-version surplus software; request 'unopened' package; does not come with manuals or free-phone help!

 

"Very Good Protection" for home computer systems

This is recommended for most home users!  Install the above and in addition install Advanced System Optimizer and Super Ad Blocker.  Advanced System Optimizer (Systweak) removes spyware, defrags the hard drive, cleans the registry, updates hardware drives, etc.   Super Ad Blocker blocks unwanted pop-ups and ads when surfing the Internet. All are reviewed at http://www.top10reviews.com.  After significant testing it was determined that these applications are mutually compatible.

 

If you never used a spyware removal tool, you might be surprised to find 500 to a 1,000 'spy cookies' on your computer the 1st time you run this software!  This is particularly true if you surf the Internet frequently.

 

For "11 signs of spyware on your computer" see http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,1522648,00.asp.

 

"Best Protection" for home computer systems

In addition to above you can also install a hardware device such as Alpha Shield to maximize protection.  This device is very easy to install. 

 

One can also install a 'firewall router' (hardware) between the cable router (or telephone line) and the computer.   Good 'firewall routers' are made by Netgear, Linksys, D-Link, etc.  They can be found at Best Buy and CompUSA. 

 

"Dial-Up versus Cable and DSL

Security is a greater issue with Cable and DSL than for Dial-Up service, because Cable and DSL are "always on" and therefore are continually accessible to outside hackers!  See the following article for more info:  http://www.cerias.purdue.edu/training_and_awareness/home_users/broadband.pdf

 

Hardware & Software Reviews

A good source for software and web service reviews is http://www.toptenreviews.com.   In addition, try  http://www.zdnet.com,  http://www.pcworld.com and http://www.pcmag.com

 

Computer Maintenance --

 

Purchase "Registry Mechanic" [$29.95] or "Advanced System Optimizer" [$39.95] if your PC is really acting up and/or is unstable --- use this software if nothing else appears to work for you.  This software should be tried before you plan on junking your computer out of frustration!  It will repair the Registry and the Windows file structure more thoroughly than any other competitive software --- its even better than Norton SystemWorks 2006!  For 30 day FREE trial versions or to buy go to: http://www.systweak.com/toptenreadreview.asp or http://www.adwarereport.com/mt/archives/000284.html

 

Purchase the comprehensive Norton SystemWorks 2006 to maintain your hard drive.  It defragments (organizes and speeds up drive performance,) cleans up Internet files, repairs MS Window's file structures, etc.  It can be found at Best Buy, Costco, SamsClub, online at www.pricewatch.com (go to ‘software’, and then 'utilities' to get lowest price sources; OEM is cheapest,) or try www.Froogle.com.

 

Diskkeeper 2007 Pro Premier is an outstanding disk defragmenting tool!  After the initial defragmentation Diskkeeper will run in the background and continually defragment your drive(s).  It only runs [in the background] when you are not actively using your PC.  It will continually keep your drive in a 100% defragmented state.  It's not cheap at $100+.  Look at other Diskkeeper 2007 versions for a better deal!

 

Recommendations ---

  1. Update all of your Internet Security software and virus definition lists at least once a week!  Run your anti-virus program and spyware removal software once a week to find and remove viruses and spyware from your computer!

  2. If you have installed Norton SystemWorks, periodically empty the Norton Protected Recycle Bin by right-clicking and emptying both the Recycle Bin and the Norton Protected Recycle Files.  This can free up significant hard drive storage space!

  3. Using Norton Internet Security do a Web Cleaning once a week to remove Internet temporary files.  If you never did this before, you might free-up more than 1 giga-byte of disk storage on your first try!  Remember every page you view on the Internet is stored on your computer hard drive. 

  4. For PC Window's users:  go to Windows Update in your desktop START menu and click-on Windows Update to load the latest Window's repair and security software patches; also, go to MS Office Update to load the latest patches!   Do these often --- very important!

  5. Defragment your hard drive at least once every 2 months in order to optimize hard drive performance.

  6. Do periodic backups of "critical data" residing on your hard drive --- most of us don't do this!  Hard drives (even well-maintained ones) have an average lifetime of 4 years.  After 4 years the operating system becomes more unstable leading to frequent system crashes; also an older hard drive can suffer an unpredictable mechanical failure.  Sometime during the end of the 3rd year consider replacing your computer system with a completely new one.

  7. Plug all the computer components into an electrical surge suppressor (minimizes the effect of lightning strikes and periodic line surges.)  Good ones can be found at Best Buy and CompUSA for around $30 to $75.

  8. For those who want to protect their systems against power outages consider an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS.)  Good ones can cost $200+.  Look for them at Computer Flea Markets to save money --- refurbished ones with a NEW battery are the best deal!

Do not open any email you are suspicious of, particularly attachments --- delete it immediately!

 

Has your personal and/or financial information been comprised?

For a list of recommendations prepared by the Federal Trade Commission go to http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft

 

Security/Privacy Notice [Christopher Zygaj]

 

Register your cell phone, home phone and Fax numbers at the "National Do Not Call Registry".  On Nov 20, 2006 your numbers could be released to telemarketing companies! [

 

Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft (Vince Arini)

 

AN ATTORNEY'S ADVICE -- AT NO CHARGE!!! Read this and make a copy for your files in case you need to refer to it someday. Maybe we should all take some of his advice!

 

1.  The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook, they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name, but your bank will know how you sign your checks.

2.  Do not sign the back of your credit cards.  Instead, put "PHOTO ID REQUIRED".

3.  When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the "For" line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the numbers, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won't have access to it.

4. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a P.O Box, use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a P.O. Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks. (DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.

5. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when travel either here or abroad. We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards.

Unfortunately, I as an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieve(s) ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more. But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:

1. We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call.  Keep those where you can find them.

2. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).

But here's what is perhaps most important of all: (I never even thought to do this.)

3. Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.  By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert.  Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away. This weekend someone turned it in.  It seems to have stopped them dead in their tracks. 

 

Here are the numbers you always need to contact about your wallet, etc., has been stolen:
1.) Equifax:  1-800-525-6285   

2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
3.) TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289 

4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line):  1-800-269-0271

 

Also go to the Federal Trade Commission website for IMPORTANT information --- CLICK HERE!

 

FREE Secure Credit Reports ---

 

Recently I followed the advice of MONEY Magazine [September, 2005, p. 116] and obtained free credit reports from Experian, TransUnion and Equifax all from the same secure website http://www.annualcreditreport.com.  There are no strings attached! This should be done annually! 

 

If you request "all three credit reports at the same time", you cannot obtain another free one for approximately 1 year!  However, you can request one at a time from a different agency every 4 months.  For example, today you can get a free one from Experian, 4 months later get one from TransUnion, 8 months later get one from Equifax, etc.  This order can be different --- its your call.     

 

If you also want to obtain your 'credit score' which is needed if you are taking out a loan or mortgage, then there will be nominal fee of around $7 per report.

 

'AnnualCreditReport.com' is a centralized service for consumers to request annual credit reports.  It was created by the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

 

Review this website carefully.  Under the heading "Contact Us" there is additional information regarding your credit report, credit repair, and identity theft.  [Dave Brent]

 

Tips for stopping junk mail and telemarketers ---


Good info from NBC's Today Show.  For more information, click on the following link http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16531776

 

Related Issues ---

 

Public Disclosure of Personal Information with DOB, address and Phone Number (Courtesy of Joe & Joan Sute)
 
Beginning this month (May '05) a new database  became available to the general public, free of charge, that displays your personal information  (names, addresses, phone numbers, birth dates).  The database is found at http:/www.zabasearch.com .

You are urged to forward this information to family and friends. Check to see if your name and information is in their database. If so and you want it removed, send them an e-mail at info@zabasearch.com to request it be removed.
 
ZabaSearch says people can have their info removed from the company's database by e-mailing their name, birth date, address and phone number to info@zabasearch.com.  However, the company also says in its terms and conditions that it "does not guarantee that the information will not be available again in the future from other sources or ZabaSearch itself," thus making the opt-out process virtually meaningless.

If you do decide to opt-out by email, check back after a few days to make certain your information has been removed.   However, as ZabaSearch claims, your name and information can appear in the future, so you have to be diligent and periodically check their website for your personal info.

Here are additional links for more information on ZabaSearch:

http://www.zabasearch.com/terms.php,

http://www.kvbc.com/global/story.asp?s=3274591&ClientType=Print, and

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/04/15/BUG3JC8U341.DTL.

Advice on Internet Security for Home Users

Several short, easy-to-read articles to help you better understand how information security impacts you, and what you can do to keep your computer, information, and family safe from information security incidents ---

http://www.cerias.purdue.edu/training_and_awareness/home_users/

Identity Theft Protection

See article entitled "Identity Theft: What, Me Worry?" at http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,1524776,00.asp.

See this for steps to be taken if you are a victim of identity theft: http://find.intelius.com/privacy-faq.php#Q10.

Elimination of Mail-Delivered Credit Card Applications

If you are bombarded with post office delivered credit card applications, go to http://www.creditsourceonline.com/opt-out.html for instructions on how to minimize (or eliminate) the delivery of these to your home.

Online Data Vendors: How Consumers Can Opt Out of Directory Assistance and Non-public Information

There are many websites that sell or provide for free, personal information about individuals.  This information is gathered from many sources including white pages listings (directory assistance), publicly-available sources and public records.  Go to  http://www.privacyrights.org/ar/infobrokers.htm for opting-out links.

 

 

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This site was last updated 08/22/12