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June 29, 2006
Laptop containing my Stolen Records Recovered (*)
I'm really glad that they
found the damned thing. My records must have been in it because I
received one of the millions of letters the Veterans Administration
issued about protecting me against losses from possible identity
As bad as the situation
is, there was one bright spot for me, and maybe for a few million
other WW2 Vets. The letter proved that after more than 60 years, the
VA knows I still exist.
And, they have me covered. I sure hope they do something to keep it
from happening again.
(*) A laptop and external hard drive containing sensitive
information on more than 26 million U.S. military veterans were
stolen in early May from the home of a VA employee. As of June 28,
2006, the FBI and Veterans Affairs Department reported that a
preliminary review indicated no data was taken.
June 16, 2006
How to Choose a Firewall to
Reduce Your Internet Security Risks from Unprotected Web Surfing
Not every Internet user or Web Surfer may be aware of the
important job their firewall performs for them.
Since it's possible that Firewall functions could be a mystery
to some users, here's a very brief review of how and why a firewall
is necessary to reduce the risks of
Unprotected Web Surfing.
Hardware and/or software Firewalls are designed to
keep unauthorized outsiders from tampering with a computer system or
Firewalls block Hackers and other outside users from getting into your computer, just
as physical walls prevent fires from spreading from one area to
To be SAFE using the
internet, you need protective tools like firewalls, anti-virus
software, etc, to provide virus protection, security against Trojan
Horses, Worms, SpyWare and Adware, and the Theft of your Identity.
You will definitely Reduce your risks of computer 'virus grief' and
improve your Internet Security by using Firewalls and Virus
Protection when surfing the 'Web'.
Firewalls exist in Hardware and Software versions. The hardware
firewall is a physical device located between your computer and your
Internet connection. It stops unauthorized inbound information and
is often referred to as a Firewall/Router. (It routes the accepted
incoming signals to your computer).
The software version is actually a program installed on your PC.
Software versions don't cost as much as the hardware type, and in
many cases are available for free or for demo trial periods.
The Software types are often called 'Personal Firewalls'.
Window XP users should consider upgrading their firewall protection
from the Window XP Service Pack 2's firewall. If you have a DSL or
broadband cable connection, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may
have given you a DSL/Cable router with a firewall built in. Usually,
all you have to do is read the manual and turn it on.
Microsoft Company's most recent Vista operating system will include
a built-in firewall. The personal firewall built into Windows Vista
includes 'application-aware' outbound filtering, which means that
filtering of information sent from your computer can be turned on or
off. For example, Windows Firewall in Windows Vista will allow
administrators to block applications (such as peer-to-peer sharing
or instant messaging applications) from contacting or responding to
If you use DSL and your ISP did not give you a DSL or Cable
broadband router with a built in firewall, you can buy one. They are
If you have DSL, buy a DSL router. If you have Cable broadband ISP
get a Cable Router. Most of the popular router brands have built in
firewalls and a feature called NAT, Network Address Translation.
This hides your real IP address from the Internet.
When selecting your firewall Software program, Read the reviews of
Internet Security software testers and select the firewall software
titles with the best ratings and highest recommendations. Do a
Google or Yahoo search for "firewall program reviews". You'll find
dozens of sources for published test results. Magazines like
WORLD and PC Magazine are very reliable places to look. Check out three
or four reviews and select the firewall software with the highest
Recommended firewall software programs that appear at the top of
more than one review should be reasonably safe programs to try.
Read more on
Firewalls and Virus Protection.
Just be sure you have an operating firewall when surfing the
June 10, 2006
How to lower the risk of
malware intrusions from your online
Because Search engine
inquiries produce results that can include links to sites that
install malicious software or display content of questionable or
undesirable nature, I recently added a free program to monitor the
results of my search engine queries...
More security service
providers are joining McAfee in developing software like their free
SiteAdvisor that identities these potentially dangerous search
SiteAdvisor alerts Web searchers when their search results include
sites associated with spyware, adware, spam and browser attacks.
According to McAfee, between 3.9 and 5.3 percent (depending upon the
Search service) of links that appear in search results pose a risk
and can be as high as 72 percent of results for popular queries such
"free screensavers", "bearshare", "kazaa", "download music", and
"free games." the security company reports.
SiteAdvisor works with Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers and
displays a green, yellow, or red checkmark with each result for
Google, Yahoo, or MSN search results.
Right now it doesnt work with my Netscape browser, but McAfee
reports that their free SiteAdvisor may eventually be available for
other popular browsers.
If you currently use the IE or Firefox browsers, you can download
Here. The installation instructions are very clear and the
download is quick and effortless.
For anyone using Google, Yahoo, or MSN search tools, these automatic
analysis programs add another level of safety and security to our
Internet activity, which is really very important. You will see why
when you visit the SiteAdvisor webpage - be sure to click the link
about the number of unsafe results found on the major search engine
results pages. It will probably be a surprise to you - it was to me.
Ive recommended it to my children, grandchildren and friends. If
you arent yet using SiteAdvisor, or if you prefer to wait for
similar products coming from Symantec and ScanSafe, and others, be
sure to try them when theyre available.
Youll probably recommend SiteAdvisor to your family and friends so
can identify unsafe search results, too
June 2, 2006
What's all of the Buzz about MySpace -
what is it, anyway?
If you're like many
other of us parents and grandparents, terms like Internet Social
Communities could leave you somewhat perplexed. If you care to know
what they are, ask any teenager or young adult - they've known
about, and have been networking with their peers in many of these
communities for years.
largest of these is MySpace with over 60 million visitors and
However, it's not the only one, and has been around for so long that
it's become 'old hat'
to many of our teenagers and young adults.
MySpace's notoriety could be a turnoff for young people who
are looking for an online community of their own. It's no longer
'cool' or the 'In place' to meet and exchange messages
and personal information with their peers.
Teens are always searching for something new, and in this
case, are looking for new places to congregate as the most popular
places are viewed as more regulated.
MySpace may be reaching that point for its young users. Some no
longer think it's cool, while others prefer more closed communities
like Bebo and Facebook.com, which target their age groups better.
Among the more recent Internet Social meeting places - social
communities - that parents would be well advised to watch for
are Bebo, Xanga, Facebook, Buzznet, Friendsorenemies, and Tagworld.
There will be more coming.
It's not that any of these web meeting places are necessarily bad.
But they do carry potential dangers from cyber criminals, predators,
and other unsavory types.
Young people need their special places to meet. It's a large
part of their lives and they prefer meeting without their parents
being too much aware of what's happening.
If they understand how these social communities operate, Parents
and Guardians can help their teenagers enjoy these opportunities and
avoid some of the dangers .
more about Internet Social Communities.
June 1, 2006
Stinger updated as of April
5, 2006 to include
protection against the
protection to your new computer update your backup protection for
your existing machines
the Free virus checking and removal
tool (compliments of McAfee's Anti-virus and Vulnerability Emergency
Response Team -
updated April 5, 2006.
It's a great
little program that fits neatly on a floppy disc - a perfect way to
clean up your computer if a worm or other 'rogueware' has disabled
your ability to get back on the Internet to update your
Whenever updated versions becomes available, I'll post
a notice here, on the Firewalls and Virus Protection website and
in the Security Alert News Reporter. Download the current version
Please let me hear from you.
Your comments are really appreciated. Try to avoid anything inappropriate (hateful, abusive,
explicit, etc.), they'll be deleted before posting.
Please stick to the theme of "Security Awareness and Safety on the
Internet'. Your email address will never be displayed and will not
be shared with third parties.
.... Richard Rossbauer
June, 2006 UPDATED) Use RSS
add current Web Feeds to
automatically update your daily reading lists
More and more of my favorite websites, newsletters and blogs
Now, even more display the
button. Clicking on it automatically adds that feed to my personal
MyYahoo page. If you don't have a Free 'MyYahoo' page, it's very easy to get one from the
The same is true for
Using RSS feeds has saved a lot of time!, I don't have to go on a search for the latest
information published on my favorite sites -- every new bit of information, post, or
announcement appears in my RSS Reader. (The new IE7 browser is expected to
refer to these as "Web Feeds.")
After you put the first Web Feed into you RSS Feed Reader and have
up-to-date notices delivered to you without worry about
opening an email notice, you'll appreciate how great this RSS stuff
really is. Try It. You'll enjoy it!.
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