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  June 29, 2006    Missing VA Laptop containing my Stolen Records Recovered (*)

'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 theft.
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.

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  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 network. 

Firewalls block Hackers and other outside users from getting into your computer, just as physical walls prevent fires from spreading from one area to another.

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 other computers.
 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 relatively inexpensive.
 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
PC WORLD™ and PC Magazine™ are very reliable places to look. Check out three or four reviews and select the firewall software with the highest ratings.
 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 Internet.

                                                                                   ... Richard
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  June 10, 2006            How to lower the risk of malware intrusions from your online
                                search results

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 results.
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 doesn’t 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 SiteAdvisor 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.
I’ve recommended it to my children, grandchildren and friends. If you aren’t 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 they’re available.
You’ll probably recommend SiteAdvisor to your family and friends so can identify unsafe search results, too
                                                                                                   ... Richard



  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.
Probably the largest of these is MySpace with over 60 million visitors and members!
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, 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 . Read more about Internet Social Communities.

                                                                                        .... Richard


  June 1, 2006                       Stinger updated as of April 5, 2006 to include
                                       protection against the
W32/Sober@MM!M681  worm.

Add this 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 -
AVERT) was 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 security ware.  

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 here at McAfee STINGER




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  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 Readers to add current Web Feeds to
                             automatically update  your daily reading lists


More and more of my favorite websites, newsletters and blogs display |XML|RSS| buttons.
Now, even more display the 
Add to My Yahoo!  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 Yahoo site. The same is true for Add to Google and      
 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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