Saturday, January 19, 2008

Secure Your Computer For Safe Internet Usage

From email to online banking and investing to shopping, today people are using their computers for many things that used to be done only offline. As we do these things on a more regular basis, unfortunately we open ourselves up to a new breed of criminals and their new weapons like spyware, viruses and email scams. While some may be looking to phish your personal information and identity for resale, others simply just want to use your computer as a platform from which to attack other unknowing targets. As our use of computers and the related potential for risk increased, it is import that we make sure we have taken steps to protect ourselves. Just like the advice of not walking alone at night, there are things we should and shouldn t do on the internet. Below are a few easy, cost-effective things you can do to make your computer more secure. - Viruses can cause your computer to fail unexpectedly so always make backups of important information and store in a safe place separate from your computer. - Computer software is being continuously updated and criminals are continuously finding new ways to attack. Update and patch your operating system, web browser and software frequently. Because Microsoft s operation systems like XP and Vista are on most home and business PCs, they are the biggest targets of fraudsters. Make sure you have the latest software by going to Microsoft s website and running the update wizard. This will help you find the latest patches for your Windows computer. Also look for updates to any other Microsoft software you have at the same location. - Install a personal firewall. A firewall is software that protects your computer by not letting some programs do things that could be dangerous. Without a good firewall, viruses, worms, Trojans, malware and adware can all easily access your computer from the Internet. There are a range of great firewall programs and hardware available at any budget. If you aren t comfortable selecting or installing this type of software check with your local computer store for assistance. - Review your browser and email settings for optimum security. Why should you do this? Active-X and JavaScript are often used by hackers to plant malicious programs into your computers. While cookies are relatively harmless in terms of security concerns, they do still track your movements on the Internet to build a profile of you. Consider setting your browser security setting for the internet zone to High, and your trusted sites zone to Medium Low. - Install antivirus software and set for automatic updates so that you receive the most current versions. As with firewalls, there are great alternatives available on the internet and in stores. -Once you install software, though, it is very important that you keep it up to date. Make sure you allow the software to automatically update itself to ensure you stay protected. -Do not open unknown email attachments unless you are sure they are safe. Unfortunately some viruses can spread emails that look like they came from a source you know. If you are not expecting an email, even if is from someone you know it is best to confirm before opening. - Just like unknown email attachments, do not run programs from unknown origins. Also, do not send these types of programs to friends and coworkers because they contain funny or amusing stories or jokes. They may contain a Trojan horse waiting to infect a computer. - Consider turning off your computer and disconnecting it from the internet when not using the computer. A hacker can not attack your computer when you are disconnected from the network or the computer is off. The ability to shop from home, email friends and family are great benefits of the internet. Unfortunately, along with everything new comes the opportunity for criminals to use it for bad purposes. By taking just a few simple precautions you can rest assured that you will get the benefits without becoming a victim. Aubrey Jones is President and founder of Riverbank Consulting, Inc. - and Webs 4 Small Business - - Since 1996 he has worked to protect internet banking clients for one of the top US financial institutions. Visit - to learn how to protect your identity.

Network Security - Little Known Threats

Little Known Network Security Threats There are a number of common network security threats that can damage your network. Some prime examples include remote login capability, SMTP hijacking and backdoor entry to a computer network. There are however dozens of other ways someone can inadvertedly access your network and steal or damage your data. Here are just a few network security threats you should be aware of, whether you operate a private or corporate network. DNS â€" DNS or denial of service involves a major attack on Websites. Usually this threat is reserved for large computer networks. When a denial of service attack occurs there is often little a company can do immediately to recover from the attack. When this happens a hacker connects to the server multiple times purposefully even though the hacker is denied access. Over time these repeated requests cause the system to slow and crash. Macros â€" This is an application that allows someone to create a script of commands that can run on your network. These macros are capable of crashing computers and destroying data. Virus â€" A computer virus is one of the most common threats any private or corporate network user faces. Fortunately viruses can usually be prevented using modern anti-viral software. OS bugs â€" Operating system bugs occur when backdoors are accessed to operating systems. Usually a backdoor is left open to attacks when inadequate network security systems are in place. Fortunately adequate network security including use of firewalls can help limit ones exposure to this security threat. Article by Frank Owen, visit his web site on network security for more information on network security

Spammers Use Excel to Cloak Malware

Spammers are using Microsoft Excel as the newest packaging for their spam, says Commtouch, a Nasdaq-listed anti-spam technology provider. The finding is based on the company’s analysis of billions of email messages globally. “Like other types of spam messages, the Excel spam is being sent from zombie computers or bots typically home PCs that have previously been infected by Trojan malware,” the company says in a media statement. The Excel spam packaging promotes stocks in file attachments with names like “invoice20202.xls,” “stock information-3572.xls,” and “requested report.xls.” Commtouch CIO Amir Lev says Excel is a natural progression after a recent spate of PDF spam, which itself was a development from basic image spam. “We expect other file formats to follow suit; think of the spam potential in PowerPoint files, or Word documents,” he says. Other file formats Commtouch recently released its Email Threats Trend Report for the second quarter of 2007. The report showed PDF-spam made up 10-15% of global spam messages during a 24-hour period, increasing overall global spam traffic by 30-40%. Image spam dropped 50% to less than 15% of all spam in that period. In the previous quarter of the year, image spam accounted for 30% of all spam in the first quarter of 2007. The report also showed global spam levels remained high, with 85-90% of all global email being spam. Lev says spammers assume that by wrapping the same message in a new format, they will bypass most anti-spam engines that try to analyze the content of mail messages. However technologies that rely on identifying patterns in mass emails block these types of messages automatically, regardless of the content or format. Malware writers have used Excel in the past as a carrier for viruses. In June and July 2006, a series of attacks exploited vulnerabilities in Microsoft software, including Excel, Microsoft Word, and PowerPoint. Damaria Senne is a journalist and author based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She writes about the telecommunications industry in South Africa and Africa, including cellular, mobile and wireless technologies and messaging news and trends. She regularly interviews executives of multinational companies expanding their business into Africa, as well as government officials and regulators in the African communications market. Damaria is also an author and would like to write books that inform, educate, empower and entertain for parents and children.

Controls for Attaining Continuous Application Security in the Web Application Development Life Cycle

Given the choice, every organization would want secure Web sites and applications from the Web application development phase all the way through the software development life cycle. But why is that such a challenge to attain? The answer is in the processes (or lack thereof) that they have in place. While individual and ad hoc Web application security assessments certainly will help you improve the security of that application or Web site, soon after everything is remedied, changes in your applications and newfound vulnerabilities mean new security problems will arise. So, unless you put into place continuous security and quality assurance controls throughout the software development life cycle, from the initial phases of Web application development through production, you re never going to reach the high levels of ongoing security you need to keep your systems safe from attack--and your costs associated with fixing security weaknesses will continue to be high. In the first two articles, we covered many of the essentials you need to know when conducting Web application security assessments, and how to go about remedying the vulnerabilities those assessments uncovered. And, if your organization is like most, the first couple of Web application assessments were nightmares: reams of low, medium, and high vulnerabilities were found and needed to be fixed by your web application development team. The process required that tough decisions be made on how to fix the applications as quickly as possible without affecting systems in production, or unduly delaying scheduled application rollouts. But those first few web application assessments, while agonizing, provide excellent learning experiences for improving the software development life cycle. This article shows you how to put the organizational controls in place to make the process as painless as possible and an integrated part of your Web application development efforts. It s a succinct overview of the quality assurance processes and technologies necessary to begin developing applications as securely as possible from the beginning, and keeping them that way. No more big surprises. No more delayed deployments. Secure Web Application Development: People, Process, and Technology Building highly secure applications begins early in the software development life cycle with your developers. That s why instilling application security awareness through Web application development training is one of the first things you want to do. You not only want your developers armed with the latest knowledge on how to code securely--and how attackers exploit weaknesses--but you want them to know how important (and much more efficient) it is to consider security from the start. This awareness building shouldn t end with your Web application development team. It needs to include everyone who plays a part in the software development life cycle: your quality and assurance testing teams, who need to know how to properly identify potential security defects, and your IT management team, who need to understand how to invest organizational resources most effectively to develop security applications, as well as how to successfully evaluate such essential technologies as Web application security scanners, Web application firewalls, and quality assurance toolsets. By building awareness throughout the Web application development life cycle, you re building one of the most central controls necessary to ensure the security of your Web applications. And while training is essential, you can t depend on it to make certain that your systems are built securely. That s why training needs to be reinforced with additional controls and technology. You need to begin to put into place the elements of a secure Software Development Life Cycle, or SDLC. Essential Elements of Secure Software Development Life Cycle Processes A secure software development life cycle means having the policies and procedures in place that consider--and enforce--secure Web application development from conception through defining functional and technical requirements, design, coding, quality testing, and while the application lives in production. Developers must be trained to incorporate security best practices and checklists in their work: Have they checked their database query filtering, or validated proper input handling? Is the application being developed to be compliant with best programming practices? Will the application adhere to regulations, such as HIPAA or PCI DSS? Putting these types of procedures in place will dramatically improve security during the Web application development process. Having developers check field inputs and look for common programming mistakes as the application is being written also will make future application assessments flow much more smoothly. While developers need to test and assess the security of their applications as they re being developed, the next major test of the software development life cycle processes comes after the Web application development is completed. This is when the entire application, or a module, is ready to be sent to the formal testing phase that will be conducted by quality assurance and security assessors. It s during this phase of the software development life cycle that quality assurance testers, in addition to their typical tasks of making sure performance and functional requirements are met, look for potential security problems. Companies make the mistake, during this phase, of not including members of the IT security team in this process. It s our opinion that IT security should have input throughout the software development life cycle, lest a security issue surface later in the Web application development process--and what could have been a small problem is now a big problem. Putting these types of processes in place is difficult work, and may seem onerous at first. But the truth is that the payoff can be huge: your applications will be more secure and your future security assessments won t feel like fire drills. There are software development life cycle models and methodologies that could help direct you, such as the Application Security Assurance Program (ASAP), which puts a number of guiding principles in place necessary for building secure code, including executive commitment, considering security from the beginning of Web application development, and the adoption of metrics to measure coding and process improvements over time. A good primer is The Security Development Lifecycle by Michael Howard and Steve Lipner (Microsoft Press, 2006). How Technology Helps Enforce and Maintain the Secure SDLC Human nature being what it is, people tend to slip back into their old sloppy ways if new behaviors (the software development life cycle processes we discussed earlier) are not enforced. That s where technology can play a role. The right tools not only help to automate the security assessment and secure coding process; they also can help keep in place the Web application development framework necessary for success. As discussed in the first article of this series, at the very minimum you ll need a Web application security scanner to assess your custom-built as well as your commercially-acquired software. Depending on the size of your Web application development team, and how many applications you re working on at any given time, you ll want to consider other tools that will improve your software development life cycle processes as well. For instance, quality and assurance tools are available that integrate directly into application performance and quality testing programs that many organizations already use, such as those from IBM and HP. With this integration of security into quality and performance testing, quality assurance teams can concurrently manage functional and security testing from a single platform. Put Baselines in Place (But Keep it Simple in the Early Days) Now that security training is in place, and you have consistent, secure Web application development methodologies, along with the assessment and development tools you need, it s a good time to start measuring your progress. At first, all of these changes in your software development life cycle processes will feel disruptive and time consuming. So, executives and managers, as well as the Web application development team and auditors, are certainly going to want to see results from all the new work that they ve put in place. Everyone will want metrics and baselines: Are our applications more secure? Are developers coding better? The only way to answer these questions is to start measuring progress. But, in the beginning, don t fall into the trap of measuring too much. In the initial days of putting software development life cycle processes in place, we strongly advise that you keep the measurements simple. Do not get overwhelmed with tracking too many types of vulnerabilities. In fact, you probably don t want to try to track and extinguish every class of vulnerability at once. We ve seen this mistake made many times: enterprises try to fix vulnerabilities discovered in every part of the software development life cycle in a big bang. Then, at the end of a year, they end up with a dozen completely vulnerable applications, and with no money in place to fix everything that needs to be fixed. They end up scrambling, disheartened, and getting nowhere. That s not the way to do it. That s why, in the beginning, we ve learned that a sensible--and attainable--approach to securing the Web application development process is to decide which are your most prevalent and severe vulnerabilities. If they include SQL Injection or logic errors that could provide unauthorized access to an application, then that s your initial focus. Pick the most critical vulnerabilities that will make significant differences, based on your assessment and the nature of your systems and business. These will be the first vulnerabilities you want to track during their march to extinction (at least from within your applications). Once your Web application development team gets used to the process of fixing certain classes of vulnerabilities, you can add the next most pressing class (or two) of vulnerabilities to the mix. By slowing adding new classes of vulnerabilities into your formal software development life cycle processes, you will have the opportunity to smooth any problems or kinks in the process. And your Web application development teams will grow increasingly accustomed to the process. There ll be no big shocks, and over the course of months, and years, you ll see dramatic improvement over your first few baselines. By putting into place the essential controls and technologies outlined in this article, you re now well on the pathway to Web application development that is consistently secure. Your reward will be a software development life cycle process that will flow much more smoothly and cost effectively; you ll have caught problems early in the development process, so your regulatory audits will flow more smoothly. And you ll have greatly reduced the chances of a successful attack against your Web sites. About Caleb Sima Caleb Sima is the co-founder of SPI Dynamics , a web application security products company. He currently serves as the CTO and director of SPI Labs, SPI Dynamics RandD security team. Prior to co-founding SPI Dynamics, Caleb was a member of the elite X-Force RandD team at Internet Security Systems, and worked as a security engineer for S1 Corporation. Caleb is a regular speaker and press resource on web application security testing methods and is a co-author of the book titled, Hacking Exposed Web Applications: Web Security Secrets and Solutions, Second Edition . About Vincent Liu Vincent Liu, CISSP, CCNA, is the managing director at Stach and Liu , a professional services firm providing advanced IT security solutions.

Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Privacy Online

Internet today is a place where you can find information on any topic from anywhere in the world. Internet is also fast becoming the most preferred medium for education and entertainment - recent reports suggest Internet is fast replacing television. Surfing on the internet can be both fun as well as informative. But watch out, not everything on the internet is safe and fun. Internet can be a dangerous place if you do not take necessary precautions. There is a growing trend of identity theft on the internet, Is your personal information safe? What steps you can take to validate a website before you submit your personal information? Let s examine simple steps you can take to protect your identity online. First thing you should do before you submit your personal information on any website is to look for their privacy policy, make sure they are committed to protect sensitive information. Look for an contact address and telephone number on the website - serious businesses always encourage you to contact them and have no reason to be secretive of their existence. Be wary of websites with no privacy policy or contact information. One of the most popular ways to validate a business online is through the use of security certificates. A security certificate is a statement that verifies the authenticity of a person or an business online. A private key is provided to owner of certificate using which he will create digital signatures - which basically works as an digital identity card. So when you visit any secure page (pages with https) digital id card is sent to your computer. Security certificates encrypt your information and only the owner of the certificate is able to decrypt it through the unique private key provided to him by the security ceritifcate. Therefore your personal information cannot be tampered. There are two types of security certificate - personal security certificate and Web site security certificate. Personal security certificate authenticates you as what you say you are. This information is used when you send personal information via the Internet to a Web site that requires a certificate verifying your identity. Web site security certificates authenticates web sites as genuine and secure. It also ensures no other web site can assume the identity of this particular web site. Ensure web site security certificate exisits and is valid before you submit any personal information on the Internet. When you download software look for an certificate to ensure it is coming from a reliable source. How do I keep those prying eyes out my computer? List of things you can do to ensure your provacy is protect online. Make sure your turn Windows Firewall ON Install Anti-Virus software Validate Internet Web sites Do not open email messages from unidentified addresses Never post your email or contact information online or on chat rooms David Manson is a successful internet entrepreneur and also works as an independent consultant for many Internet companies and has helped numerous home based web businesses become successful online. For more information visit

Buying Online Security

This article is an expanded version of my buying only portion of “Buying and Selling Online Computer Security.” Whenever you want to check to see any link s address to see where it is going and a web page s coding, in Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft s Internet Explorer web surfing browsers click on View menu at the top then page source or source. You can read the code and where the link is headed to. If a site takes credit cards themselves without Paypal then they need to be SSL encrypted which was invented by Netscape and means Secure Sockets Layer. The newer method is called Transport Layer Security (TLS), which is very similar. If a site states it is SSL they may actually be using TLS because they are in the same protocol family. The SSL and TLS method consists of two keys that are used to transmit data. One of the keys is known to the public and the other key (private) is only known by the recipient of the message. The public key encrypts the information and the private key deciphers it. The length of the key is important. As of this writing 128 bit length is considered safe, shorter (40 or 56 bit) is considered unsafe. The encryption creation of the keys works with the combination of your browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, your operating system, and the site s server. The keys are unique to that one purchase session only and a new key is created when another site is visited and purchased through. If a site says that it is 128 or 256 bit and you have an older browser that does not support 128 bit length you can still purchase on it but your info is not really being encoded at that bit length, thus it is risky. You can check to see if your browser is 128 bit capable. In Explorer click Help>About> and “Cipher strength” should say 128 bit or better. In Mozilla Firefox click Help> About there you should see a “u” in there which means United States which has the 128 bit level or longer. If there is only an “I” this means international and it is lower bit level and is unsafe. The international market generally uses a shorter bit length, thus it is more risky to purchase outside the United States in some markets, double verify a website s certificate (explained below) and they are using 128 bit for international orders. If your browser does not have the 128 bit level or longer you must download the latest versions of the browser that your operating system can support after downloading the latest upgrades, service packs, and patches for the operating system itself, check the browser again to see if the computer took it. Even if it already says 128 bit, it is best to check for the latest updates anyways and install them. When you are about to enter sensitive information online make sure the address states https: and not just http:. The “s” means a secure encrypted page. Also, you must see a little padlock that is in the locked position on the bottom right of both Microsoft s Internet Explorer and Mozilla s Firefox browsers. If it is unlocked it is not secure. Then double click the little lock on either browser, this will bring up the site s SSL certificate, it must match the site you should be on and the address in the window. If there is a mismatch you might be on what is called a spoof site which is a fake copy of a real site trying to get your info. Phishing is where someone is drawn to the spoof site from an email which has a link to the fake site. To see the bit length of a website with Explorer just hold the mouse over the lock, with Firefox double click the lock and the bit length will show. The certificates are called SSL digital certificates and are issued by organizations that do background checks on a company s identity. The certificate must match the browser s certificate code with the site s certificate code which is done for you by the browser. If there is a mismatch with the certificates then a warning to you will pop up. For all types of discounts and specials on products and services across the web visit: For a massive information site visit: Glenn Heitkoetter is a part time writer.

Phishing Scams - Don t Get Fooled (Like I Did)

Phishing Scams - Don t Get Fooled (Like I Did) According to Wikipedia: In computing, phishing is a criminal activity using social engineering techniques. Phishers attempt to fraudulently acquire sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords and credit card details, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. I should have known better...I never fall for those phishing scams...well almost never... You know what I m talking about- you get an email from Paypal, ebay or your bank. The email looks genuine. All of the familiar graphics are there on the page. It looks exactly like the real website. How was I to know I was being set up for a scam... Let me explain: I had just completed an auction at eBay. A very successful auction. eBay immediately sent me an email. At least I thought it was from eBay.... The email said I owed money from my auction. They said I needed to pay immediately or my account would be suspended. I certainly didn t want my account suspended, I wanted to pay. I looked at the email and I clicked where it said to click. I filled in my user name and password, just like I always do when I log onto eBay. Then nothing happened. Wow, I thought. Strange. Maybe just an Internet glitch. It happens all the time. I opened a new window and manually typed in the eBay address. As soon as I logged onto the real eBay, I realized, I had been scammed. I immediately changed my password. Then I logged onto Paypal and changed that password. I narrowly averted disaster. I learned my lesson, again. Don t fall for Phishing scams. If you ever get an email from anyone, asking you to log into your account from a link in the email: DON T DO IT! Log into your account from a different browser window and manually type in the address. Be careful out there. The bad guys are counting on you to take the easy way, and click on the link. Just like I did. If you get such a message, delete it immediately. If the email says it s from Paypal or eBay you can forward it to them at this address: The Anti-Phishing work group has some great advice: Be suspicious of any email with urgent requests for personal financial information Don t use the links in an email, instant message, or chat to get to any web page if you suspect the message might not be authentic or you don t know the sender or user s handle Avoid filling out forms in email messages that ask for personal financial information Always ensure that you re using a secure website when submitting credit card or other sensitive information via your Web browser You can find other great advice on what to do about phishing scams by going to: Anti-Phishing work group Remember: Let s be careful out there. You are one click away from being scammed... Discover the the Real Secret Get free copy of Albert Grande s e-book about “Big Ideas” at this link: You can get a free copy of his World Famous Pizza Dough Recipe here:

How to Effectively Combat Spyware, Adware, Viruses and other Malicious Software

Spyware is one of the most pressing problems facing the internet today. There are thousands of these programs out on the internet that are just waiting to leach onto their next unsuspecting victim and launch hundreds of annoying popups on the victim s computer or worst steal the victims Identity. Besides the most obvious issues of identity theft, spyware, adware, malware and other similar programs can greatly slow down your PC causing it to behave in ways you would never expect. Many adware type applications will tend to pop-up numerous IE sessions on your PC â€" the goal, to get as many “impressions” as possible since the developers of the adware are getting paid per impression. Most recently on CNN there was a story of Jeanson James Ancheta, who was given a 57 month prison term for creating “bots”. He had hijacked some 500,000 computers, though these computers (known as zombies) could be used for malicious activity they were used to plant adware â€" or software which caused advertisements to pop-up on the infected computers. Through the use of this type of adware activity, he made over $60,000.00. As part of the judgement, Mr. Ahcneta was required to forfeit his illicit gains and pay $15,000.00 to the U.S. Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, California. With such huge sums of money being paid by advertising companies â€" whose terms of service often state that their affiliates are not permitted to “spam” or use illicit means to gain impressions â€" and the relatively low risk of being caught, its no wonder that these types of applications run rampant on the internet. There are some actions you can take to help minimize this risk. The most important thing you need to do is to keep the latest patches applied to your operating system. Spyware (adware, malware and even viruses) utilize known holes in operating systems and applications to install themselves on a victim s computer. Keeping your system up to date is the best way to help stop this threat. Two other “essential” applications are virus protectors, and spyware scanners. You should also consider using a firewall â€" either a hardware based firewall, or software based firewall. You should also employ a firewall on your internet connection to stop these programs form taking over your computer. A firewall is a piece of software code that monitors traffic going to and from your computer and it performs actions on that traffic depending upon the rules set up for the Firewall. A Firewall si very effective at stopping spyware installation and even if it does manage to become installed ( because of an user action) you will be able to prevent the Spyware from communicating with it s creators on the Internet. Any computer connected to the internet should have at least on Firewall protecting it from threats such as Spyware. Most Broadband routers have a firewall built in. If you configure these devices to block incoming Active X controls and Java Applets then you can reduce your risk to becoming infected with Spyware. While Active X controls and Java Applets are required for some websites to adequately provide certain services. While not all of these controls are used a method for installing Spyware, they are used as the primary means. The bottom line is the benefits that Active X and Java Applets provide is not worth the risk they pose to internet users. It is best to just disable these applications from running â€" but some websites will not work correctly if you turn these “helper” applications off. You’ve probably heard this saying, that the best defence is a good offence. Employing firewalls is one part of the equation. Also consider virus protection software such as McAfee Virus Scan and spyware software like SpySweeper from Webroot software. Although these applications (virus scanners, and spyware stoppers) are purchased once and then renewed on a yearly basis, they will help prevent malicious software from infecting your computer. They are highly recommended. Another piece of software to consider is a software based firewall. One of the best ones out there is from a company called Zone Labs and their product called ZoneAlarm. Although running several pieces of software will impact the PCs performance, most individuals are running faster PCs with much more memory and storage space so they should see very little degredation in computer performance. Finally it also rests upon the user to ensure that they are not downloading software from untrusted sites, or visiting sites that could be installing suspicious software on their computers. Mohammed Bhimji operates several informational sites, one of which is his free adware spyware and virus removal site that informs and educates users about spyware, and adware removal .

Anti Virus Protection - Free Anti-Spyware and Anti-Virus List

Spyware and computer viruses are one of the online threats that can be harmful to your system. Protection against these threats is essential and every computer should have at least a basic protection. National Cyber Security Alliance in 2005 online safety study has reported that 81% of computer home users lack basic protection. This study shows that most people still don t know about PC protection and even though some of them know about it, they don t know where to find good software to protect their system. In this article, I will tell you what are the anti-spyware and anti-viruses that you can use for free and will give you the protection that you need. Avast! Anti-virus is created by ALWIL Software and one of the top anti-viruses. I like this the most because it has seven protections. Instant messaging, Internet mail, network shield, outlook/exchange, P2P shield, standard shield and web shield. Another good software is AVG. AVG is created by Grisoft and you can get new virus definitions almost everyday. It also has a real-time protection against viruses. Install one of these software because you cannot have more than one anti-virus in a system. Now let us go to the anti-spyware solution. The first one is Spybot Search and Destroy and it s also free software. This software is very good and it can remove almost all threats such as adware, spyware, and keyloggers from your computer. It also has some real-time protection. Ad-Aware 2007 is also one of my favorite software. The free version of this software lacks Ad-Watch, which is the real-time protection against spyware. However, owning the free version of this software is enough because you can use other software to provide your system a real-time protection for free. The software that can provide you real-time protection against spyware are Spyware Terminator and Windows Defender. Both are free and both are good enough to give real-time protection for your system. Anti-spyware has a different rule than anti-viruses, not like anti-viruses, you can install more than one anti-spyware in your system. It s up to you which software that you want to use because all the software that I recommend here are good and please remember that some of these free software can only be used for personal use only and not for commercial use. Want to know the secret of securing your PC from dangerous spyware, adware, and malware programs that can ruin your PC, your finances, and your sanity?!! Visit for more info.

Best Antivirus Protection - What To Look For In Antivirus Protection

What is the best antivirus protection program to have? That is the question that everyone asks when they buy a new computer or upgrade their internet connection. With broadband becoming more and more popular in recent years, a good antivirus protection program is a must. Threats to your computer are everywhere on the net and without good antivirus protection your privacy may be at risk. When looking for the best antivirus protection there are a few things you should keep in mind. 1. Does the software offer good customer support? 2. Do they keep the software up to date and upgrade it regularly? 3. Do they block spy ware and Trojans? 4. So they have a firewall feature? 5. Is there a money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied? Remember to keep all this in mind when searching for the best antivirus protection. In my opinion free antivirus programs aren’t really worth bothering with, as there not kept up to date as frequently as paid services. But at the same time don’t pay a fortune for your service. Sometimes the smaller lesser known companies are a lot cheaper than the bigger antivirus companies and have just as good protection. Finally, you should definitely never be without virus protection especially if your broadband is always connected. With broadband becoming more popular, there are lot more hackers and viruses out there. Always keep your antivirus protection software up to date and scan your computer for viruses reguralry and you shouldn’t have any problems. Lewis Waller is a software reviewer from the UK. To find out which antivirus protection software he recommends Click Here

Spyware And Adware - A Major Headache For Computer

Adware downloads to your computer usually involve tracking your movements on the net, and collecting information about you. Because browser security holes are a common pathway for spyware and adware downloads, it s important to apply all security patches that become available for your browser. Spyware Spyware and adware have become a major headache for computer. Spyware and adware often land on computers by hitching a ride during visits to porn and gambling sites or as part of downloads of free games and screensavers. Spyware, on the other hand, is frequently malicious and may be used to fraudulently obtain users bank account information, passwords, and other confidential information. Spyware and adware often get installed along with free programs you download from the Internet. Spyware and adware aren t going away anytime soon, and fortunately, you can take charge of the situation. Some kinds of spyware are more than a nuisance. Some spyware and adware, working busily in the background, can dominate your system s resources, sometimes bringing down your entire system. In a typical scenario, spyware or adware gets bundled with freeware downloaded from the Internet. Often called drive-by downloads; unscrupulous adware and spyware programmers use pop-up windows, ActiveX® technology, and Web browser security holes to install information-gathering software without your knowledge or consent. Spyware The Web is rife with antispyware tools that do little or nothing to prevent spyware. Purveyors of these tools often provide free scans, which almost invariably identify hundreds of spyware programs on your computer. Because browser security holes are a common pathway for spyware and adware downloads, it s important to apply all security patches that become available for your browser. ActiveX is a common tool for installing spyware without your knowledge or consent, and you can always turn it back on should a trusted site require it. When choosing an antispyware tool, it s important to remember spyware and adware don t operate in a vacuum. In fact, some of the most dangerous and sophisticated Internet security threats use other, more malicious tools in combination with spyware. While continuing to offer firewall security, virus protection, spam prevention, and privacy controls, it also automatically detects and removes spyware and adware known to be a security risk. When it detects less hazardous spyware or adware, it prompts you to make a decision. Spyware and adware aren t going away anytime soon, and you need to take charge of the situation, making informed decisions based on your preferences. The software industry has been trying for some time to draw a line between spyware and adware, which are used to describe software that track people s online activity and sometimes deliver ads to screens. A kind of information gathering software, spyware finds its way onto your computer without your knowledge or permission. In general, downloading unwelcome software requires some action (or inaction) on your part. If you don t have a reason to trust the company providing a piece of software, hold them to increased scrutiny. Rob Houston is a successful Webmaster and publisher of . He provides more information about spyware and spyware issues that you can research in your pajamas on his website.

Security Software - Always Stay Secure

There are several reasons why you should use security software to protect your personal information and your computer while online. Security software offers Internet users with protection against viruses, worms, spyware and other programs that are designed to infiltrate your computer system without your permission. Internet security software will help prevent identity theft. Identity theft is a crime that affects over nine million Americans each year. It can take a victim years to recover from identity theft. Sometimes a victim of identity theft is unable to get an educational loan or a credit card or a loan or is turned down for a job. Another benefit to using security software is that the software is designed to stop hackers in their tracks. This is the best way to protect your privacy while you are online. Plus with security software you can make your IP address unlisted. This is great because often time’s hacker will use your IP address to access the Internet for free. This can disrupt your computer system. When you install security software onto your computer you are ensuring that your information and computer system when you are at an unsecured location such as a Internet café or a hotel or a airport. This is perfect for the Internet user who is always on the go. With Internet security software you are protecting all of the data on your computer with specialized encryption software. Other benefits are that security software eliminates popup, offers hard drive security, and eliminates censorship by your ISP and so much more. The Internet has changed the way the we live, we work and we play. We are connected to people and information from different parts of the world in a matter of seconds. The Internet has revolutionized the way we conduct business or look fro a job. The only negative aspect is that the Internet has created a new form of crime, cyber crime. Protect yourself while online with security software. Written by Joe Amerson. Find the latest information on private browsing as well as anonymous browsing

How to Write Your First Ebook

Writing your first ebook may seem like a daunting task. But like many projects, it won’t seem so bad when it’s broken down into manageable chunks. Not all projects are successful, so don’t be too disappointed if your first ebook isn’t a best seller. Whatever the outcome of your first ebook, you can at least say ‘You did it’. Like many things in life, what often seems impossible can be attained with the right attitude and the right equipment. It could be a marathon run, climbing a mountain or finding parking space at the supermarket. If you want to play golf, you will need clubs, balls and some practice. There’s no guarantee you will become another Tiger Woods but you will become a golfer. If you want to write an ebook, you will need a computer, software and some directions. Assuming you have a computer and software or access to them, here are some directions. Establish Your Reasons Your reasons for wanting to write an ebook will have a major impact on your success. It may be for financial gain, promoting a business, advancing your career, education, self satisfaction or something entirely different. Whatever your reasons, write them down. It will help to motivate you if the going gets tough. Choose Your Subject There are countless subjects that you can write about. It’s wise to choose something you have an interest in or knowledge of. It is worthwhile spending time on this. The more you know about your subject, the easier it will be to write about. Choose Your Title After you’ve chosen your subject, you’ll need a title for the ebook. It’s worth writing down a few different ones before deciding on the one you’ll use. This will help to keep your focus and may give you some other ideas. The title should give a clear indication of the content in your book. A catchy title may help to sell it, but remember to balance this with clarity to keep it in context. I’ve written down two examples. Feel free to use them if you have a sense of humor. A Clubbers Paradise - Golfing in Ibiza 20 Minutes Late â€" The Future of Trains Choose Your Audience The subject and style of your writing will determine your audience. Decide who your desired audience will be. Age, gender, culture, social background and education are factors you may want to consider. What you write should be targeted at your desired audience. Write Your Thesis Statement Although it’s possible to write your ebook without a ‘thesis statement’, it is not recommended. If you are unfamiliar with this term, there are many sources available that will provide you with all the details you need. Unfortunately, there are some differences of opinion that may lead to confusion. The ‘thesis statement’ deserves a separate article of its own but for now I have written a general definition of a thesis statement for ebooks. This may leave the door open for criticism but is a small price to pay if it removes some of the confusion. More importantly, it will give you a base on which to start. Only use it as a guideline. If you want a more specific definition, Google is a good place to start your search. A thesis statement is a sentence or two written to clearly show the reason(s) for your ebook and what you expect to write about. Although I have referred to this as a general definition, keep in mind that your actual statement should be as specific as possible. Think of it as the foundation for your ebook. It should contain the following: 1) Your subject 2) Your opinion on the subject 3) A supporting reason for your opinion 4) The significance of 1), 2) and 3) Create Your Document Now that you have the foundation, you can begin writing. A standard application like MS Word is a good choice. While you are writing your document you can revise your thesis statement at any time up until it is published. This provides a good degree of flexibility. Choose the format and layout of your document, including chapters, headings and introductions. Dependent on your subject, you may wish to add photographs, anecdotes or testimonials that keep the reader’s attention. Since an ebook is generally read from a screen, you may want to break up the text more than in a printed book. Experiment with a few different fonts and look at other ebooks for ideas you can use. Spell check and save your document regularly. MS Word has an auto recovery feature. This is useful if you don’t save the document on a regular basis and later experience a system crash. Always backup your document. As a precaution you should also keep a copy on another media such as CD. Choose Your Ebook Format This is a personal choice. You may decide to create an executable (.exe) file or a Portable Document Format (.pdf) file. By no means an exhaustive list, here are some points to consider before you choose. EXE files are compiled using an ebook compiler EXE files may offer features that are not available with PDFs EXE files can only be read on a PC EXE files don’t require any other software to be read EXE files are easy to open, easily branded, and good viral marketing tools EXE files may be susceptible to viruses although some compilers offer virus protection More information on the better compilers can be found at PDF files can be created using Adobe Acrobat PDF files can be created with several other 3rd party applications PDF files are an industry standard PDF files can be read by both PC and MAC PDF files require Adobe Reader to be read PDF files are highly unlikely to become infected More information on PDFs can be found on the Adobe website Create Your Ebook Create your ebook in your chosen format. Congratulations you are now an author. Bryan Quinn Provide a variety of useful resources for creating, reading, and publishing ebooks. You`ll also find tips on spam and flipbooks, as well as a collection of free ebook downloads. A free members area is also provided for ezine subscribers.

Dangerous New Ransomware Infection Hits the Internet

A brand new version of ransomware has made its way to the Internet. This new spyware infiltrates your computer and encrypts your files. After encrypting those files, the ransomware asks you to pay up to $300 to receive the decryption code and recover your data. This new malware infects your computer through Internet downloads of questionable programs and utilities. The name commonly given to this Trojan is ‘”. This dangerous Trojan has the ability to actually change the user rights on your computer to a higher level, so it can change files and the Windows registry. The Trojan also inserts itself into on of your legitimate Windows processes to remain in your computer’s memory and avoid detection. Below is an example of an email message you will receive from this ransomware once your files have been encrypted: Example ransomware email text: You will need at least a few years to decrypt these files without our software. All your private information for the last 3 months was collected and sent to us. To decrypt your files you need to buy our software. This price is $300. To buy our software please contact us at ____________and provide us your personal code_____________. After successful purchase we will send your decrypting tool, and your private information will be deleted from our system. Besides encrypting data and demanding money, this malware also features backdoor keylogging features designed to steal confidential bank account and credit card details. To protect yourself from this malware, it is very important to have an updated antivirus/antispyware program like StopSign Internet Security. Also, make sure you back your data on a regular basis. Ransomware is not a new tactic. Previous virus strains, such as the PGPCoder family, used the same tactic. Ransom-A threatened to delete a file every 30 minutes unless prospective victims paid $10.99 to stop the process. Another type of malware, Arhivieus A, attempted to coax users into purchasing pills from an online drug store rather than asking directly for money. A recent analysis from the security research firm Secure Science Corporation (SSC) has outlined a large number of similarities between the new GpCode and another version of ransomware that appeared in 2006. Of the 168 functions identified in GpCode, 63 were identical to this 2006 version. The SSC has also found evidence of GPCode’s effectiveness. “In the 8 months since November, we’ve recovered stolen data from 51 unique drop sites. The 14.5 million records found within these files came from over 152,000 unique victims,” says the report. Some of the main targets of this recent ransomware attack have been computers belonging to the U.S. government, contractors and companies in the transportation industry. Some spyware experts believe that the extortion threat involved in this outbreak of ransomware is actually a clever trick to conceal the hacker’s true motivation, which could be purely data gathering. It is troubling to government officials that many of the infected PCs are related to the transportation sector, because of the possibility of terrorist attacks. Ransomware is a dangerous Internet threat which will likely reappear in many forms in the upcoming years. Remember to get a comprehensive antivirus program, keep it updated regularly and back up your data often. These are important steps to take in the battle against any new spyware. Jason Dick is an Internet Security Specialist . Mr. Dick is a Tier-3 certified antivirus technician with extensive experience creating customized antivirus solutions for new and resistant spyware and virus infections. In addition, he has spent several years consulting with the average home computer user helping them get the most from their Internet Security Software. He is currently writing a number of articles regarding responsible computer use, internet security, spyware and virus trends and other pertinent technology news to share his knowledge and expertise.To read more of Jason s articles visit:

Key Logger - The Invisible Key Logger, Save Yourself From Online Scams

In order to be able to tell if you have key logger spyware on your computer, you need to know what it is and understand how it works. This spyware is an invisible software program that is used by identity thieves to track your activity online. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to know if you have this software on your computer and it does not matter how careful you are, you will never be able to tell if your information personal information is being recorded. This is scary since those who use key logger spyware are usually after your bank account passwords and credit card numbers. The word Key Logger is also called KeyLogging . The Keystroke logging is used to track user s key stroke during software development. The typical use of this tool is to increase efficiency of employee in data entry or word processing related work. The tool is also used in software development and for monitoring activities on computers under surveillance or used by government agencies monitoring criminals or parties interested in decoding passwords for computer networks. The recording of key strokes on keyboard can be done either by software or hardware. The hardware attachment comes portable which can be attached to keyboard for recording. There are some keyboards, which has it already built-in. On software side key logging can be written as software program and then downloaded on computer or computer network, this program secretly records user s keystroke and then sends to source. This process of recording can expose the person or machine on which key logging data is being sent. This process exposes e-mail address or IP address of machine of receiver. One third of all online scams are caused by the spyware. Unfortunately though, if you take a moment to type key logger into any of the major Search Engines you will discover that there are a lot of ways in, which you can legally purchase and install this type of spyware. This is because a lot of businesses use this software to monitor their employees activity. Parents also use key logger software in order to find out what web sites their children have been visiting. While this use of software is completely legitimate, in the hands of a hacker who wants to steal financial information from people, and this software is extremely dangerous. Some of the ways in which you can protect yourself against them is to never open spam email, never open email attachments from people that you do not know, not clicking on pop up windows without reading them first, using a firewall and running a full system anti-virus computer scan each week. Unfortunately a lot of people are not listening to this advice and thus the number of key logger crimes is on the rise. Key Logger Facts Do not access Bank account or Credit Card information on public computers. Do not open email attachment received from unknown source. Always scan attachments. Do not click on popup windows, close then through Windows task bar. Keep firewall in place, this will not only safe gard your computer, it also restricts other virus from attacking your PC. Download or purchase an anti-virus software for yorr computer. If possible change you password in regular intervals. Don t do this on public computer.

Are You A Marketing Kindred?

Are You A Marketing Kindred? If you are like me and do online business today, you are somewhat aware that there are many proposals, propositions and schemes everywhere. Some are less than stellar while there are still others that are an excellent means of building a nice income. Many are very intriguing and interesting and seem very tempting, don’t they? It is sometimes hard for us to determine the worthiness of these machinated projects that hold our interest and attention. Are these proposals only interested in our money and not our general welfare? I’ve been quite lucky in that I have found some very good mentors that have helped me find my way around the Net. I’ve avoided getting into some of the schemes online, partially because of my extreme caution. Initially, they had my interest and I could have easily been swept in. Some of the people, promoting these questionable opportunities, may only be looking to get my dollars while a few of these marketers are genuinely interested in helping me to better understand how the system works. These nice people, I consider my mentors and kindred spirits that are offering real friendship and compassion. They help to enhance the reputation of business online. These are the types of individuals I want to work with and you should too. Let’s all be kindred’s and make online marketing a respectable place where a greater percentage of marketers can succeed in a friendly and favorable marketplace. ACTS 3:25 Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. John Sprague is an American currently working in the Mideast. He enjoys writing and working on his websites in his free time. He has a new site at His website has photos of the Mideast and marketing articles that you may be interested in viewing.

The Dos And Don ts Of Online Banking

The Dos And Don ts Of Online Banking One of the biggest additions to the banking world in recent memory has been the advent of online banking. It has made banking so much more convenient for consumers. Likewise, it has also helped banks in lowering their costs considerably. With that said though, there are some dos and dont s that you need to be aware of when opening up an online bank account. Do s Is the online bank you re considering doing business with FDIC insured? This is important, because if they are not, move on to a bank that is. FDIC insures that all savings accounts, checking accounts, and CD deposits are covered up to $100,000. Be certain that the Internet banks website that you re on is the real website. As hard as it can be to imagine, online criminals have made up websites that nearly identical to the banks actual website in hopes of conning you into getting your personal information. Always look over all your bank statements, credit card statements, etc., and check to make sure everything looks right. If you do find something that is questionable, talk to your bank immediately. Make sure you keep your password and account login information in a safe and secure place. Never share this information with anyone, especially through an email. When you come up with passwords, never use birthdates or social security numbers. Do keep your anti-virus protection software up to date on your computer. It s also a good idea to back-up your files on a regular basis. You really don t want to take chances in this area. Always completely log off your online banking website. Don t simply X out of it. Change any of the auto-generated passwords you are given when you first open up an online bank account. Keep up to date on all the information about your online banks security measures. Ask what kind of protection they offer? Compare it to other Internet banks security systems. Don ts Don t send personal information to anyone in an email. You may think it is secure, but it is not. Don t give out your personal information over the telephone unless you are absolutely certain of who you are dealing with. You also need to know what this person is going to do with your information when you give it to them. Don t have other browsers open at the same time you are doing your Internet banking transactions. Don t open emails from folks you don t do business with. If you ever get an email from your bank asking you for personal information, call the bank first before doing anything else. Ask them about the email and find out what is going on. If it is legitimate, which I doubt it is since banks don t conduct business like that, then you can take care of it right there over the phone. Opening an online bank account is great. I ve had an Internet account for years now, and never had any issues with it. It has become such a convenient way of life now that I would never consider anything else. If you will follow these simple dos and don ts, you ll find the same convenience with online banking as I have. Discover more information on the Do s And Don ts Of Online Banking as well as information on banking, loans and investments at

Are Your Passwords as Secure as You Think?

Are Your Passwords as Secure as You Think? Youandrsquo;ve chosen what you think is a strong password; no-one would guess what it is in a month of Sundays andndash; or would they? In this age of computers and high-tech hackers, is your password as secure as youandrsquo;d like to think? Signing up to any online resources such as chat rooms, discussion forums or article and auction sites will almost always require you to supply a certain amount of personal information and inevitably choose a password. Hopefully, youandrsquo;ll pick a password that should ensure all your details remain safe and secure. If youandrsquo;re inventive with your choice of password, then you may be relatively safe, but using the same one you use for all other websites you login to or not giving your choice sufficient thought could mean that your personal details donandrsquo;t remain private for very long. Keyloggers One of the ways unscrupulous hackers are making huge sums of money is by stealing supposedly protected information from other usersandrsquo; computers with the aid of a programme called a andlsquo;keyloggerandrsquo;. Quite simply, a keylogger lets someone see what another user has been looking at on the Internet; in other words, it allows one person to spy on anotherandrsquo;s computer. Keylogger programmes can be downloaded for free from a number of websites and are not illegal to own or use providing of course that they are not used for criminal purposes. Inevitably though, there are always some that will find a way of profiting by dishonest means and anyone with an Internet connection could become a target. A keylogger records every keystroke made by a user and sends the data back to the hacker. From the information received, the hacker can obtain personal information and passwords that could possibly allow them to access a personandrsquo;s bank or savings account and clean them out; obviously a very lucrative and relatively risk-free operation. It must be mentioned however, that there is also a legitimate use for this type of programme in that it can be used as a means of protection and censorship by parents who want to monitor and control what websites their children are visiting whilst they are online. Access Tricks Keyloggers are not the only tools used in an attempt to get at your details. Many hackers will go to the trouble of using all the words in a dictionary as a means of obtaining a password and on some occasions this strategy actually works; typing in the names of celebrities and sports stars is another favoured method that can also be extremely effective. An well chosen password should ideally contain both upper and lower case letters plus numbers and other characters; the downside of such a mix is that it will be very hard to remember, and practically impossible if you have lots of them. So, how do you go about keeping your information really safe? Security One of the easiest ways password security can be increased is to use a separate password for each site and not rely on a andlsquo;one password fits allandrsquo; situation andndash; that just makes a hackerandrsquo;s job easier. Invest in a good anti-spyware programme, one that will detect any information being sent back to a hacker via your own Internet connection. Another option is to try out the various devices available that store all passwords in one place and plug into a USB port when you need to retrieve login details; inevitably, this device also needs a master password to access it but the upside is that you would no longer have to remember any of your other login names or passwords because the USB device automatically fills in the necessary boxes for you. In fact you wonandrsquo;t even have to use the keyboard to access your favourite sites, but you must remember - never leave the USB device lying around. The future It may be that the password as we know it is on borrowed time. Itandrsquo;s possible that at some point in the future the use of passwords will cease altogether to be replaced by an electronic access option that generates an ever-changing code as part of the login process. This technology is already being tried by various organisations, and though the effectiveness of the system for the moment remains unknown, it seems that a constantly changing password may be just whatandrsquo;s needed to keep your details safe and the hackers out. This article is the property of the author and may only be reproduced in its original form. John Sheridan is a professional proofreader of hard copy items and website copy. He also writes web copy and occasionally accepts small copy-editing assignments. He can be contacted via:

Online Security and Identity Theft 101

Basics of security and protecting yourself online Internet security, identity theft and fraud have become major issues recently as more people globally obtain access to the Internet. With the decrease in barriers to entry, i.e. lower webhosting costs, widespread highspeed and wireless Internet access, and website contruction software that truly enables anyone to create a website, the online players and number of new websites are increasing exponentially. With this increase comes a flood of new websites from countries around the world with various languages and business and regulatory environments. The question for the Internet user becomes, which of these websites can be trusted when making online purchases and revealing personal information to an unknown party? Online fraud in auctions, advance fee fraud and romance scams, lottery and phishing emails, credit card and identity theft totalled well over $2B USD in 2006. The number is expected to increase in 2007 despite efforts to curb the trend. Criminals carry out the operations from countries all over the world, but many work from Internet cafes in corrupt countries like Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana. The truth is, however, nearly all countries in the world have criminals involved in this new crime. It is estimated that over 60% of all Internet users express privacy and trust concerns when shopping or providing personal information over the web, or over 1 billion people worldwide. How can you protect yourself from this growing crime? We provide some safety tips. Search the Web for reviews, posts and information. By searching Google and Yahoo for the company or website name, chances are excellent you can find reviews or at least comments from other users and customers. If not, try searching the Rip Off Report to see if the company has had a history of complaints. Sill no information? Try using Yahoo Answers to ask if anyone has any information on the site. If after these attempts little or no information is known about the site, chances are the website is new or a very small operation. In other words, the risk is higher as the company or website has yet to establish its brand and online reputation. Next, a look at the actual site. Look for privacy policies and privacy associations. The first step when judging an unknown website should be viewing its privacy policy. If the site has no privacy policy, consider it a questionable operation and move on. Reading the entire privacy policy and legal verbage isn t necessay, but do scan the document to see if the site or company appears to take privacy matters seriously. Truste is a non-profit group which offers its website seal to those sites which comply with their strict standards. If the website in question has this seal, chances are the website and or company takes the matter seriously with adequate steps to inform site visitors and protect your private information. Check for security seals on the site like Hacker Safe. If a website has a major security seal such as ScanAlert s Hacker Safe seal, visitors to that site know that the company or website has taken steps to protect users and customers from credit card fraud and identity theft. Although there are no guarantees, there is no comparison between a site with such a security seal and one without this safeguard. The Hacker Safe seal indicates the site is scanned daily to ensure the site meets strict security standards of secure website design and server applications. Demand site encryption for personal information. To protect personal information trasmission, such as credit card payments or home telephone and address data, a well designed and safe Internet website should have SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption of at least 128 bit. What does this mean? This indicates the website uses technology which ecrypts your personal data when being trasmitted from the website to its servers, and is therefore extremely difficult to intercept or steal. A major company offering this service is VeriSign and having the seal indicates that the site, or portions of the site are encrypted. There are many competitors, however, and as long as the yellow lock shows on the bottom right hand side of the browser, visitors to a website know that such a site page is being encrypted. A website example of how it all looks and works. Wymoo International makes a good case presentation of how all these elements come together to protect website visitors and customers. These same principles that a website is properly designed and maintained, however, can and should be applied to other websites when the choice is being made to do business via a website, or even to supply basic personal information. From viewing Wymoo s home page, we see on the bottom left hand corner the Hacker Safe and Truste seals. By clicking on either seal, visitors and potential customers can verify that the site is in current compliance with each online security group. On Wymoo s Free Quote page, visitors again see the Hacker Safe and Truste seals, but on the bottom right of the browser, there is the yellow lock indicating the page is encrypted. Also on the page are links to the privacy and data security policy. This is a good example of what to look for in quality e-commerce websites. Lastly, there is no way to ensure 100% safety while shopping or providing personal information on the Internet. There are many steps you can take to judge whether or not the website is legitimate and offers protection from identity theft and credit card fraud. Research the company or website reputation on Yahoo and Google. Look for security and privacy seals such as HackerSafe and Truste. Check for website encryption (the yellow lock) on pages where you submit your private information. Lastly, make payments with a major credit card. In the event of fraud, your credit card company may reverse the charge. Play it safe, A. Hathaway Copyright © 2005-2007 A. Hathaway A. Hathaway has 20 years of experience in fraud prevention, foreign markets, international investigations and background checks. His ongoing travel experience consists of over 35 countries and 6 continents. He has worked as a consultant for major firms including Wymoo International and maintains his own blog .

Are Spyware Programs Lurking On Your Computer

Regardless as to how prideful you are when it comes to the skills you have whilst on your computer or surfing the internet, the fact is that you will be at risk from spyware and adware every time that you log on. There is just no one way in which to avoid the harmful and, annoying spyware programs that cause you to have more pop-ups than a childs favourite pop-up story book. Instead, you should try to constantly be aware of what is on your computer and how to maintain your computer in the best possible condition. Here are a few things that you may want to keep checking on your computer in order to prevent spyware. One way that you can tell if you have any spyware running in the background on your computer is if your keep noticing those annoying pop-ups appear without even having your preferred web browser open. Anybody that has a DSL or high-speed connection now know that they can be constantly connected to the internet whether intended or not so you must protect against this. Even though you may always be connected you should not ever have pop-ups appear on your screen unless you are actual surfing the internet at the particular moment. Otherwise, you most definitely have some form of spyware on your computer and you should use a spyware program to detect it right away. When you open your preferred web browser it will automatically open at the default home page that you have previously set, whether it is where we go to download our email or to discover that latest new and events, spyware can cause this to be a headache. If you launch you browser only to discover that you are taken to a website that you have not previously visited or are unfamiliar with then it highly likely that a spyware program is on you computer and effecting the browsers settings. The unwanted web page that you would be taken to is likely to resemble a search page or sales page in the hope that you will use or purchase something. If you start to notice that names or websites you do not recognize begin to appear in your browsers favourites list, such as pornographic or gambling related sites than this is likely to refer to some form of spyware. Many of these sites will attempt to automatically list themselves in your favourites list without your knowledge or really caring if you want them there at all. Remember that these websites are not there to win your heart or make you become a fan of their work, they are only there for one of two things, either to grab your personal details or just to cause a great deal of heartache. If you are having problems in running any particular task or program, try bringing up the Windows Task Manager screen by pressing the Ctrl (control), Alt and Delete buttons at the same time, and check to see if you are running any programs that you did not actual start or do not recognize. Most of these spyware programs will attempt to run in the darkness without you having any clue that they are there so an occasional check now and than will not hurt. If you always keep track of exactly all the additional software that you have installed on your computer since new, than it tends to be easier to notice when a new program appears on your computer, which may turn out to be spyware. Checking the list of programs on your computer can be done by simply viewing the Add / Remove programs area in the control panel. If you start to notice that your computer is starting to run a lot slower than normal or freezing up at every possible turn, which is extremely annoying and frustrating, it may indicate that you have a spyware problem on your computer. Many of these programs can be more than just harmful to your computer; they can be extremely demanding on the memory now that a parasite has attached itself and taking up valuable memory space. By constantly staying on top of what you have installed on your computer you can head this off at the pass. If you are unfortunate to discover a spyware program on your computer it may be possible to remove it without needing to purchase or download any anti-spyware programs from the internet. Not surprisingly, many people fear the thought of having to download something in the attempt to correct another problem caused by a download. Who is to say that the people selling the proposed solution are not the same ones that originally created the problem? You may be able to manually remove the program if you are computer minded, but it may be a relentless task as it sometimes takes several attempts to completely remove if from your system. Always be careful if you decide to download any free stuff from the internet, such as wallpaper to smarten up the appearance of your windows background or small graphic files to use on you web pages like MySpace or FaceBook. Spyware programs are notorious for hitting on the latest fad to entice the younger internet users to unknowingly download a program simply because it is completely Free! This may look attractive on the surface, but as we all know, nothing in life is truly free. These are just a few of the ways that you can continue to monitor your computer in the attempt to prevent spyware from being installed. Do not just get frustrated with your computer, stay on top of what you are doing and where you are going to keep your computer healthy. Darren Lintern is the author and owner of Spyware and All About. For more information on Spyware Protection, visit Spyware and All About where you will find a wealth of information on Spyware and Adware, including Spyware Help , Software, Detection and many other solutions to find and remove Spyware.

Microsoft Update - 5 Reasons to Update Service Pack 2

Microsoft released Service Pack 2 (SP2) for the Windows XP operating system back in August (2004), representing significant improvements in many areas, especially system security. For those people that are still unsure whether they should update to it, the following five reasons may help make the decision easier. 1. Protects Against Unsafe Attachments / Downloads Service Pack 2 provides Windows XP with a “Windows Security Center”, and other key tools, to help protect the user’s system from unsafe attachments and downloads. This type of protection is one step to prevent viruses and Trojans from slipping onto a user’s system and wreaking the type of havoc that has become an increasing problem in recent years. One way it does this is through warnings in Internet Explorer’s “Information Bar”, which alert a user to potentially unsafe downloads. The suspect content is blocked automatically, and no action is taken until the user manually addresses the warning. Unsafe file attachments are now also blocked in a similar manner via Internet Explorer and Outlook Express, thus protecting not only web based content, but also items received via e-mail. Another way it protects from unsafe files is by monitoring the system’s anti-virus software and alerting the user if the system is at risk due to the software being out of date. Although Microsoft does not offer any virus protection themselves, this feature makes sure that whatever program the user has decided to use stays current and as effective as possible. 2. Windows Firewall A software based firewall is included with Service Pack 2, intended to protect the system from access by unauthorized individuals on the internet or local network. The firewall is activated automatically by Windows, but users have the option to disable it, as well as to create exceptions to bypass the security in certain situations. When utilized, the protection is active from startup to shutdown, providing a simple firewall solution to any computer with SP2 installed. Small pop up style windows are generated to alert the user of possible attempts to access the system from the outside, as well as when programs try to go out onto the internet. These pop ups are approved/denied by the user before anything is allowed to happen, and can be done so that a pop up will appear again next time this event occurs, or so that the pop up will never appear again for that particular event. Many users with broadband internet connections have a hardware firewall in their router, but a software firewall such as this is still a good idea. It can protect where the hardware firewall can not, and is particular useful in preventing the system from launching any attacks from Trojans that may have slipped in. 3. Internet Pop Up Blocker With Service Pack 2, Internet Explorer now features an integrated pop up blocker to help reduce, if not fully eliminate, the presence of those nuisance ads. Configurable from Internet Explorer’s “Tools” tab, users can customize their preferences and even turn the pop up blocker off. Considering most pop up blockers require a special toolbar or other application be installed, this one is extremely convenient and easy to use. 4. Increased Privacy Protection Your privacy is protected more so than ever with Service Pack 2 in a few different ways. If items 1, 2, and 3 above weren’t enough, there is more… For example, Windows XP with SP2 now applies security settings to further guard your PC and your private information from exploit via Internet Explorer. Another way your privacy is protected is by Outlook Express blocking images within e-mails that allow spammers to validate your address. Spammers use images that are tagged with unique bits of code, and once the URL of the image sent to you is viewed, the spammers know that they have a valid address, which makes that address more susceptible to future spam. 5. Simplifed Wireless Networking The popularity of wireless networking has exploded as the hardware has becoming increasingly simpler to operate and relatively inexpensive. Now the way a user connects their system to a wireless network has been greatly simplified via enhancements found in SP2. The “Wireless Network Setup Wizard” will lead a user of any expertise through the installation process, and the “Microsoft Broadband Network Utility” will help them monitor and maintain the network just as easily. Application of security settings is obviously a main component of these improvements, insuring that the user’s system is protected from this angle of attack as well. Final Words The release of Service Pack 2 for Windows XP brought about many more changes to the operating system than the five listed above, all of which have to be seen as welcome improvements. With a focus on protecting the end user’s computer system and data, there are enough good reasons to persuade a user to take the plunge and let Windows Update install SP2 Computer Geeks tech tips and computer advice

Keep Your eBay Password Safe from Phishers and Hackers

One of the most important things about being successful on eBay is to take active steps to safeguard your eBay password (also PayPal), not just in the early days but for as long as you remain a member of one or other site. That said, it isn’t just through emails your passwords may be picked up and used by fraudsters. Some people use passwords that are amazingly easy for scamsters to guess, such as a first name followed by year of birth (avril1950, for example) or the city from which they run the business (available for all to see inside almost any eBay listing). More often though the blame lies fairly and squarely with the person staring back at you from the bathroom mirror! Case in point: one of our own subscribers once asked me my eBay User ID to see how I listed items similar to those he wanted to sell. No problem with that, I don’t mind anyone checking my listings, but in this case I was rushed, under pressure, I gave him my password instead! He never knew that, of course, but just in case I changed my password fast and emailed our subscriber with the correct user name. These tips will help keep your passwords safe: * Do not include personal details such as month or year of birth, names of children or pets, house name, house number. * Don’t give your password to anyone, including your partner or children. Even the most honest and trusted people make mistakes! * Change your password often, preferably every few weeks. * Use capital letters and numbers as part of your password which makes it even more difficult for people to guess. * Have ongoing virus protection software in place and do a full virus check every few days. Some viruses can access and copy passwords and personal details directly from the user’s keyboard but a good virus checker will find and remove viruses before they can activate. Try Norton Anti-Virus software, you’ll find it at: I’ve tried numerous others, including McAfee - â€" but for me Norton wins hands down. * Protect Yourself, Protect Others. Send emails you think might be spoof to the genuine high-profile company from which they purport to come. For eBay and PayPal send them to and, respectively. But you may get hundreds of spoof emails daily, I certainly do, and reporting scams can eat heavily into time you might otherwise spend running your eBay business. So report the facts sparingly and if enough people do the same we might get rid of all but the most persistent offenders. Afterwards delete the phishing emails and empty your wastebasket to avoid colleagues or relatives acting on them later. Avril Harper is an eBay PowerSeller and author of BANK BIG PROFITS SELLING VINTAGE TOPOGRAPHICAL VIEW POSTCARDS ON EBAY which you can read about at: and MAKE MONEY TEARING UP OLD BOOKS AND MAGAZINES AND SELLING THEM ON EBAY which you can read about at: . She has produced a free guide - 103 POWERSELLER TIPS - which you can download with other freely distributable reports and eBooks at

Caution - Internet Thieves, Posers And Pirates

Wilhelm Reich, MD was a psychotherapist who studied the life force and what supported it or detracted from it. He authored many papers and inventions, but one book in particular is worth noting as we explore the world of the Internet. That book is called Listen, Little Man. It is Reich’s statement to those who both exploit and deride genius, who steal and twist the original thinking of genius, who attempt to bury it under false and misleading references to someone, sometime, somewhere having offered the original idea before the genius did. I raise this because I recently had an unpleasant experience with such a person who had advertised an internet think tank and who sent a form to fill out that included questions about past accomplishments and present projects. Over a couple of week’s email exchanges, it became obvious that this person is one of Reich’s “wanna bes”. He shamefully self promotes and then takes other people’s ideas and acts like a narcissistic pundit, taking pot shots, ridiculing and inserting his own ideas and agendas. When confronted on his unethical behavior, he threatened suit if I told anyone. He attempted to engage me in a several discussions on making bombs and converting weather systems into weapons. When I declined he began attacking my religion, my town, my identity. He found someone with my name that had an online resume and began raging about this person’s occupation (social work and psychotherapy) and insisted that I was this person despite my denials. I came to the conclusion that this was at best a sad and delusional person and at worst a psychopath with a focus on people who were creative, innovative and compassionate. I found that he had taken one of my concepts and an article I sent him in an email and put up three articles ridiculing and denigrating me and my concepts. What is perplexing is that he has no credentials, no authority, and must do these multiple attacks because he does not understand what he reads or purposefully misinterprets to create a false public perception. How sad. But this can be a good lesson for us all. Just because someone advertises that he is the coordinator for an online think tank or that one exists that he has some role in, beware. Do not provide such people with information about yourself, your work or your original ideas. You have no check on who they are or what they may do with your information. There are reputable think tanks that you can send ideas and white papers to. You can send your ideas to organizations and individuals who work in the field and who are genuinely interested. My only suggestion here is to send it to a dozen or more organizations to assure that the idea will be credited to you. Prior to my contact with the above individual, I had been in contact with more than a dozen organizations who are actively engaged in the issues and evaluation of new methods in the field. If you have an invention, then you may want to talk with a patent attorney. Before you do that, get a copy of the Nolo Press book on patents and work with it. This way, you will save time and money in dealing with a patent attorney because you will have considered the documentation needed for a patent. If you are a generous and compassionate person who desires to help the world, these cautions still apply. You want your ideas to have an open and fair hearing. Most new social and technological developments began as ideas that other people called silly or unscientific or impossible. Many did not work consistently: the first Xerox machine had four people with fire extinguishers ready when it was demonstrated because 7 out of 10 runs it caused a fire; the woman who invented the bra used two handkerchiefs and some ribbons; the transistors that replaced old tube style systems in televisions and radio were first sold to the Japanese as an insignificant development. If you give up your idea, the “concept killer” or pirate can claim it as his own. Think of the Rubric Cube. This was a mathematical puzzle for four hundred years. It was considered impossible to solve. Then it was made into a toy and within weeks, people were solving it repeatedly. You have a right to think, to invent and to experiment. And as all inventors know, you learn as much from failed inventions as from those that work. If you encounter one of the concept killers or the thieves of ideas and inventions, decline to play with them or “work” in their “think tank”. The rule in a think tank is that the organization who hosts the session has priority rights on the ideas unless they have been previously distributed by the author. A real think tank will call for papers or concepts on a problem or issue, exchange the ideas with each other, hold open non-critical exchanges and finally, submit its report to the members who can submit “minority opinions” if they do not agree with the report. Only a pirate will publish personal commentary without the permission or full vetting of the original idea and never without the named participation of the members of the think tank. If the administrator or handler of the think tank is not interested in an idea or position, they will make no effort to squash information about that position. So beware of the thieves, the posers and the pirates. Joan McKenna is a research scientist who has specialized in thermodynamic phenomena for thirty years. She hold the first life suspension patents for freezing living materials without damage; she has developed controlled mutation to allow for true genetic adaptation to extreme environments; known for her research in cancer and in optimizing immune competence. Her training in Fire Sciences enabled her to recognize the thermodynamic phenomena that would put out and keep down a hurricane.

Combating Computer Espionage - Adware and Spyware

In some cases, spies and covert operations are found in war grounds or politically tense regions. Now, however, you can find spies and covert operations running undetected within your personal computer system as you use your computer and the Internet. Have you noticed a suspicious slow down of your computer s processing without any particular reason? Are you bombarded by unsolicited pop up ads that indiscriminately appear whether you are running a program or not? These symptoms may continue to happen despite checking your system and running your recently updated anti virus program to run diagnostics on your computer. Unless you run the correct program, you will not be able to detect the real problem in your system: spyware and adware. Adware refers to unsolicited programs that usually come bundled with freeware or shareware. Yes, sometimes things that seem too good to be true usually come with unwanted invisible strings attached. Companies usually pay freeware or shareware creators to be able to capitalize and prey on unsuspecting individuals who download these programs. Adware causes unsolicited pop up advertisements in your computer and in severe cases, adware causes pop up advertisements to pop up soon as you boot your system. Spyware on the other hand is more covert and usually undetected in your system until you run an anti spyware program. Spyware is used to spy on you. In relatively mild cases, spyware is used to track your Internet browsing habits so that the spyware can report your preferences to build a marketing profile. This means that as you go about your Internet business, you are under surveillance and your basic right to privacy is impinged upon. In severe cases though, certain spyware better labeled as malware, are used for criminal purposes and can steal passwords and other sensitive information based on your computer and Internet usage. For instance, malware can take note of your keystrokes or take note of your credit card number and other vital information that can be used to steal your identity and generally put your security at risk.It is said that 9 out 10 computers are infected with spyware and to make sure that you are not part of statistical majority, you need to run an adware and spyware cleaner to detect unwanted security and privacy breach within your system. There are a lot of reliable adware and spyware cleaners available to remove these unwanted programs from your computer. You must note, however, that some adware and spyware are intricately bundled within their parent programs that cleaning them out from your computer will inadvertently disable the legitimate programs they infect. This consequence is a necessary evil to clean your computer of unwanted adware and spyware. You should choose an adware and spyware cleaner that can also work proactively by preventing future accidental installation of these nuisances. Adware and spyware cleaners work like your anti virus programs except that these particular cleaners target adware and spyware.Considering the trouble adware and spyware creators take to ensure that extracting installed adware and spyware from your computer system will be difficult, the adage about an ounce of prevention being worth more than a pound of cure applies to this situation. Be sure to install a reliable and secure adware and spyware cleaner in your system to remove existing security and privacy risks as well as preventing future hassle. Milos Pesic is an expert programmer who runs a highly popular and comprehensive Adware and Spyware Removal web site. For more articles and resources on Top Rated Adware and Spyware Removal Tools, Adware Blockers, Spyware and Malware protection and much more visit his site at: =>

Cyber Criminals - Prevent Spyware, Adware, Malware From Being Installed In Your Computer

Installed You installed a new version of your favorite program and ended up getting infected. Most spyware is installed without users being aware. Anti-spyware software programs can be used solely for detection and removal of spyware software that has already been installed onto your computer. With this protection software you can schedule weekly, daily, or monthly scans of your computer to detect and remove any spyware software that has been installed. Updates may be installed automatically on a schedule or before doing a scan, or may be done manually. If a spyware program is not blocked and manages to get itself installed, it may resist attempts to terminate or uninstall it. Spyware programs do not spread like viruses; they are generally installed by exploiting security holes or are packaged with user-installed software. Concealment can also help get the malware installed. When the user installs the software, the spyware is installed alongside. Once a malicious program is installed on a system, it is often useful to the creator if it stays concealed. Once a system has been compromised one or more backdoors may be installed, in order to allow the attacker access in the future. In the case of newly installed software, an user would need to set up default profiles for the new code. This usually involves the tracking and sending of data and statistics via a server installed on the user s PC and the use of your Internet connection in the background. Like other spyware, the program, once installed, tracks which websites the user visits, and reports the information back to the company s servers to build a user profile. Prevents spyware,adware,malware from being installed in your computer. Detects spywares and trojans as soon as they are installed in you computer. Downloads The user downloads a program and installs it, and the installer additionally installs the spyware. One of the most common ways that spyware is distributed is as a Trojan horse, bundled with a piece of desirable software that the user downloads off the Web or a peer-to-peer file-trading network. Spyware programs are among the most popular downloads on the Internet. Threats Ad-Aware secures your computer against dangerous infiltrators and threats. Keep up with all the latest news on the spyware front, including developing threats and newly released anti-spyware programs. Detect and remove spyware, adware, trojans and other threats. Remove Spyware from your PC and block future Spyware threats. Tools Tools are like a warrant from a judge. There are many PC surveillance tools that allow a user to monitor all kinds of activity on a computer, ranging from keystroke capture, snapshots, email logging, chat logging and just about everything else. These tools are often designed for parents, businesses and similar environments, but can be easily abused if they are installed on your computer without your knowledge. These tools are perfectly legal in most places, but, just like an ordinary tape recorder, if they are abused, they can seriously violate your privacy. These tools can detect serious spy activity like keyloggers, activity monitoring software, web site loggers and also common Adware, web bugs, tracking cookies and many other items that are frequently encountered on the web. As the spyware versus anti-spyware battle rages on, we were looking for good tools that allow a user to examine the contents of his or her machine and to take corrective actions against questionable programs. Remove Gromozon, an attack designed to bypass traditional anti-malware tools. If you are using Microsoft Windows operating system, to prevent malicious programs from taking advantage of known security holes, make sure you have the latest updates. In Internet Explorer, from the Tools menu, select Windows Update. If using the Internet Explorer browser, ensure that the Display a notification about every script error option is not checked: In Internet Explorer, from the Tools menu, select Internet Options Click the Advanced tab Scroll down and uncheck Display a notification about every script error Click OK to save your changes. Potentially unwanted applications include adware, dialers, remote administration tools and hacking tools. Spy Spyware that acts as a web proxy or a Browser Helper Object can replace references to a site s own advertisements, instead fund the spyware operator. List Cyber criminals are using sophisticated identity theft techniques for financial gain. While most of the top twelve tax scams involve fraud perpetrated by taxpayers, number three on the list is phishing, a scam whereby an identity thief attempts to take advantage of an innocent taxpayer and obtain personal financial data. This type of anti-spyware software scans the contents of the windows registry, operating system files, and installed programs on your computer and will provide a list of any threats found, allowing you to choose what you want to delete and what you want to keep. If you really want to take the work out of looking for that right Spyware Protection from a Spybot go to the Internet and get a Free Spybot Download or a Spybot Search and Destroy Download to prevent your vital information from being ripped from your computer.