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Computer Security

The Internet can be a dangerous place to operate.  It is increasingly looking like a bad neighborhood when the police are on strike.  Even without the criminal element, there are plenty of risks from sharing information online.  Just ask that school teacher who got fired last year for criticizing her students on Facebook.

Here are 10 tips to make for a less risky experience on the Internet.

  1. Before you post anything, assume the whole world is watching.
    You simply have to assume that anything you post online will be seen by unintended parties and can be used against. Don’t post anything you would not want your boss or parents to see.
  2. Anonymity can’t hurt you. 
    Never use your real name on blogs and social media.
    Don’t use email addresses that reveal personal information such as your name, date of birth, school or business.  You should create an email address to use just online that won’t give anything way in the name.
  3. Read email in text mode.
    Email looks great in HTML mode, but spammers and scammers can use it to hide nefarious links and malicious scripts. They can include tracking active content that can carry malware.  You are much safer in text mode.
  4. Use strong passwords.
    A strong password is one that is difficult for a hacker to crack. Give a hacker a six character password with all lower case letters and he will have it cracked in 30 seconds.A strong password has more than 6 characters, has both alpha and numeric data, has a mixture of upper and lower case letters and includes at least one special character.
  5. Treat all email with suspicion.
    If you don’t open email from unknown sources, that is a good start.
    Unfortunately, hackers are very good at disguising malicious email as from sources you might trust. Before you click on any link in an email, right click and check the actual domain. Is it the one you were expecting? You can do the same on the senders email address.  You may find that it is not really what it pretends to be.
  6. Keep Your Operating System and Internet Software Up to Date.
    Hackers are working hard every day to find holes to exploit in your operating system and important Internet software like the browsers, Java and Adobe flash.  Make sure you always have the latest updates with security fixes.
  7. Never use Peer 2 Peer Filesharing.
    Filesharing networks works are the Typhoid Mary of malware. Unless you want to be infected, don’t use them.
  8. Check for secure sites.
    Before you enter any personal information online, including user names and passwords, stop and review the address bar to see if it is a secured site. It should display a padlock and the address should start with “https://” instead of “http://”.While you are at it, make sure the domain name is the one you are expecting. Scammers will sometime divert you to a fake site and it may include part of the name you were expecting, but not the actual domain name. For example, if you are expecting to be at they might make their address
  9. Take advantage of browser privacy protections.
    The most recent versions of the major browsers allow you surf the web anonymously. You can set it so your browser won’t save your surfing history, search queries, cookies, download history or passwords.For the safest and most secure web browsing use  Comodo Dragon browser.The Dragon is Chromium technology-based Browser that offers you all of Chrome’s features PLUS unique security and privacy protection. For example, it will warn you of web sites with low levels of assurance.  All digital certificates provide an encrypted connection, but some certificates offer more security than others. With the Comodo Dragon you always know what the risks are.Unlike other browsers, information about online exploration stays as much as possible within the user’s PC. Comodo Dragon does not transmit information about a browsing session to a remote server. Such a transmission exposes information about where the user has been on the Internet.
  10. Use protection.
    Windows comes with virus protection, but it is very minimal and poorly rated.On the other hand, you can download top rated Comodo Internet Security for free. AV-TEST labs has rated it a perfect 6 out of 6 for protection in its July testing.The free edition of comes with all of the protection of the subscription version, which is ranked number 1 in the Proactive Security challenge.