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Last newsletter we looked at how cookies can be used to invade your privacy.
The article generated a lot of feedback:
What are these 'cookies' and why should I not eat them?
A cookie is a small text file that is sent to your browser by some
A cookie can be used to remember your login name and password and save you having to login again on your next visit, just do not do this if someone else has access to your computer.
If you use Internet Explorer you can examine your cookies, they are to be found at c:\windows\cookies for other browsers try searching your disk for files named cookie*.*
If you want to be notified when a website is trying to set a cookie you can change the security settings in your browser to prompt before accepting cookies.
While we are on the subject of privacy, anyone sitting at your pc can
see what websites you have recently visited: In internet explorer: View
- Explorer Bar - History Click on 'last week' to see what websites were
visited during the last week. If there is nothing there, someone has
been covering their tracks by (again in internet exprorer): Tools -
Internet Options - General - Clear History
If you have set 'remember passwords' that person may also have access to your bank account!
Well, the headline got your attention!
There is, in fact, a good side effect caused by the fear of viruses; doing regular backups is the best protection against the damage that can result from a virus attack.
There are now probably thousands of computers that are being backed up because the owner is afraid of catching a virus. There are also probably many instances of data being recovered after a computer failure that was not related to viruses, just because a backup was done before loading that suspect program or reading that suspect email.
So you have not dared to get out of bed, let alone switch on the computer, since the Melissa and the LoveBug scares. Read on, I will give you a few tips on how to carry on a normal life while reducing the risks caused by computer viruses and other nasty programs.
Anti Virus Protection Checklist:
1. Do Regular Backups
This is rule number one.
Everyone says that - but how do you do it
If you can afford it, buy yourself a tape drive and backup software. Make sure that the capacity of the tape is greater than that of your hard drive, also when working out your needed tape capacity allow for any hard disk upgrades you may be thinking of.
Any backup system that is not automated and does not allow a one click full backup will probably sooner or later let you down. But, if funds are limited, any backup system is better than none: Make a checklist of your most important documents and files and at least back these up regularly.
2. Create a Recovery Plan
Assume that you switch on your PC one morning and nothing happens.
Lets get real now, unless your are an employee and your boss tells
you to, you are not going to do any of the above. You do not have the
time nor the inclination.
3. Set the correct security settings on your PC
One way that viruses can get into your system is because you roll out the red carpet and invite them in! So lets close some stable doors:
Many viruses use VBS (Visual Basic Script) to do their nefarious deed,
most people do not use macros and do not need scripting support so disable
these (in windows 98). (if this causes problems you can always turn
them on again) Start - Settings - Control Panel - Add/Remove Programs
Windows Setup - Accessories. Uncheck Windows Scripting Host if it is
checked, then click OK to save your changes or just click Cancel if
the box is not checked.
A number of viruses will infect ordinary documents sent as email attachments. Sometimes we are not able to just delete an email attachment. If your best customer sends you a document in word, you are going to have to read it. You can protect yourself to a certain extent by disabling macros in word, excel, and powerpoint and any other program that allows macros: In word excel and powerpoint: tools -options - general - set the macro virus protection to ON this will warn you that a document contains a macro - let it run at your own risk!
If you have set printer and file sharing to ON and are not running a network, who are you sharing your resources with?? So switch off printer and file sharing: Start - Settings - Control Panel - Network - Configuration File and Print Sharing - uncheck both boxes
Set correct internet security options
4. Install the latest security patches
Virus writers have targetted microsoft products because everybody uses microsoft products, and to a virus writer it is much more fun to bring down the whole internet then just the dozen or so people who use xyz product that no one has heard of.
Microsoft are good at posting patches to defend against the latest security loophole that has come to light in their products - keep a close eye on the microsoft web site for the latest patch, and install the microsoft security upgrade. >
5. Install and Use a Virus Scanner
If you install software, read emails, or surf the web you need to run an anti-virus program to protect yourself. But do not depend on it as there are new viruses being created every day that your virus checker will not know about.
YOU CAN NOW GET INFECTED BY JUST READING AN EMAIL
The solution is to install the microsoft security patch mentioned above as well as disinfecting the PC.
6. Install and Use a Firewall
If you don't, the rats will get you!
To protect yourself from this threat you need to control what software is using your modem when you are on line. If you install a firewall it can monitor your connection and warn you whenever your pc is being accessed from the outside and whenever a program on your system is trying to send data to the net.
7. Delete all email attachments
I have said this already:
If you can avoid it, do not send attachments, why not just include the text as part of a standard email.
If you are applying for a job - do not include your CV as a word document unless the company has specifically asked you to send it in that format.
8. Do you really need that screen saver?
Download a program and risk getting a virus or a worm or a rat.
9. Links to other virus resources
The following are links to other virus related resources on the web, a lot of the information above was collated from many of the following sources:
Information about computer
virus myths, hoaxes, and urban legends.
A list of the viruses most likly to cause you a problem:
MS info about the KAK-WORM
How to get infected by just surfing the net:
An autoresponder on Data Security For Small Businesses by Paul Myers
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Little Honeycombe, Tamar Way, Gunnislake, Cornwall, Pl18 9DH. UK
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