& Woman to Woman Computing
From our Internet Security Specialist
- "Home internet users top targets of
online criminals"- CBC News
Internet users at home are increasingly becoming the targets of online criminal
activity because they tend to lack the security measures that protect
businesses and other more sophisticated users, a new report says. (Read more)
- Executive director, National Cyber Security Alliance, Ron
Teixeira: "There is a major perception gap: Even though most
consumers think they are protected, this study shows the opposite. Far too
many people still lack the three fundamental protections they need to stay safe
online current anti-virus software,
spyware protection, and a secure firewall."
PLEASE NOTE: We recommend the website
download software, but BE CAREFUL to not download "Release Candidate"
or "Beta" versions unless you are very experienced, and have
everything backed up.
You can pick the version to download on the right side of the program page, and
then when at the version you wish, click ONLY on either "Download latest
version" or "Download this version" on the upper right.
DO NOT click on any ads promoting other software.
Below you will find information to help improve your
Contact us at (613) 721-2082 to make it even easier!
- Please protect your own computer and those of your
friends and acquaintances by using an anti-virus program on your computer, and
keeping it updated. New viruses appear quickly, and spread through
unprotected computers, usually without the knowledge of the computer owner.
- Recent versions forge the "from" line
to one of the addresses in the infected computer, so it appears to be coming
from someone else's computer or even yours. It might also appear to be a
"bounced" message from a postmaster, saying you sent it out, and it
couldn't be delivered. It could also appear to be a message from your Internet
Service Provider, saying there is a problem with your account or your
- Many message sent "from" financial institutions are an
attempt to get your login and password. DO NOT click on links in these
emails. Instead, type the email address of your bank's website into your
browser. These messages are often referred to as "phishing". Few
banks actually email their clients, instead they have messages on their
websites both before login (general) and after (personalized).
- We recommend NEVER opening an attachment unless you have specifically
asked for a file, unless you know what it is and why you are receiving it.
Most of the viruses these days spread through the virus sending copies of
itself to everyone in your address book, and are especially directed at
attacking through Outlook or Outlook Express. Most people affected have no idea
that their computer is spreading the virus to their friends, who think it's
safe to open an attachment coming from someone they know.
- Please note that few people are aware that spyware is as much a danger
to your computer as viruses. Please see below for information on
- Update your anti-virus program at least daily, and always before
opening your email program, to give you the best protection.
- We recommend the use of an excellent anti-virus program, Avast. This free
(for personal use) program is available from Avast at
www.avast.com/eng/download-avast-home.html - please note
that it requires a registration, which is free, but is required each year (look
for "Register here" on that page to register and/or renew).
- If you wish to use a second program, we recommend the use of the free AVG
antivirus or Antivir by Avira. The AVG program is available at
www.filehippo.com/download_avg_antivirus and Antivir is at
- You can also do an online scan of your computer at
www.antivirus.com/free_tools - this only works when
connected to the Internet, of course. Please don't depend on this as your only
virus defense. We have seen it miss virus infections.
Malware Detectors - "Pest control" for your
- "Malware" is used as a catch-all term for many kinds of
malicious software. Adware programs pop up ads in your face, sometimes even
when you don't have a browser open and may also watch your online activities,
profiling you for targeted advertising or more sinister purposes. Literal
spyware gathers information about you and what you do with the computer,
possibly enabling identity theft. Keyloggers are the ultimate spies, recording
everything you type (including passwords). All of these are lumped under the
- Many people don't realize all the extra "stuff" that ends up on
their computers just by visiting websites. In addition to the Temporary
Internet Files (which should be cleaned out regularly), many websites place
"cookies" on the computer, _most_ of which are harmless, and they
also can put "spyware" programs into your computer as well.
- You can remove the Temporary Internet Files in Internet Explorer by going
to "Tools", then "Internet Options", then on "Delete
Files" to clear what is stored already. Then click on the
"Advanced" tab at the top, and scroll down to the
"Security" section at the bottom of the popup window. Click to put a
check mark beside "Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when browser is
- Beware emails promoting programs that will "clean" your spyware -
these are often programs that remove other companies' spyware, replacing it
with their own!
- We recommend The use of a free spyware detection program "Spybot
Search and Destroy". It not only cleans the "spyware" on
computers, but "immunizes" them against almost 2,000 programs, to
prevent websites from putting their programs on your computers without your
consent. "Spybot" is available at
www.spybot.info - or from
our courtesy download area at www.computertamers.ca/download
Install the program, be sure to "immunize" the computer, then check
for problems, finally clicking on Fix selected problems. There is a
tutorial available by clicking on Help on the top menu.
- Check for problems weekly by double clicking on the desktop
shortcut, first checking for updates - if found, click to select them all,
download and install. Then to go "Immunize" (click on the green cross
at the top of the Immunize screen), and go to "Search and Destroy" to
check for problems. Then "Fix selected problems" (making sure they
are all selected if not done automatically); then go to "Recovery",
select any/all there, and click "Purge" to finish cleaning.
- You may also wish to add
MalwareBytes Anti-Malware. Install it, update it, and click
"Quick scan" and wait. It will prompt you on the steps at the end to
restart if it finds anything to clean, and when the computer is restarted, it
should be fine.
Firewalls - The
"keys" to your computer
- Computers connected to the Internet are at risk of attack from unscrupulous
hackers, especially those connected via high speed connections (cable or DSL).
Hackers may attempt to take control of your computer for their own use. In the
worst case, this could include the placing of child porn on your computer for
distribution without your knowledge.
- We recommend the use of the free ZoneAlarm firewall program,
available at www.zonelabs.com/store/content/company/products/znalm/freeDownload.jsp
- During installation, it can pre-configure your computer for Internet
access, but you will have to give permission for each program outside the
standard connection. If it is a program you know (your email program or web
browser or antivirus programs), click on "Remember this setting" so
you won't be asked again for that program. You can change settings program by
program at any time by clicking on Program Control, then Programs. Click under
Access to set "Allow, Block or Ask" status for each program.
- Please note that you can review the tutorial at any time by double clicking
on the tray icon (ZA or red/green traffic bars) then on Overview, Status and
finally Tutorial. Clicking on Preferences will allow you to check for updates
to the program.
- If you have given permission for a program you don't want, or denied access
to a program you do want, double click on the ZA in the task bar, then when it
opens ZoneAlarm, click on Program Control on the left, then on Programs - it
will show you a list of those allowed (green check mark) and denied (red x).
Blue question marks mean the program asks each time. To change a setting, just
click on either the check mark, x or question mark, then change to what you
Mac (Apple) computers
- April 13, 2012 - 600,000 Macs infected: Patch your Mac! Even though
Flashback has been a known security issue for months, the vulnerability had
remained unpatched by Apple, even though other players (including Oracle and
Microsoft) had released a fix for the vulnerability earlier this year. Apple
have since distributed a patch earlier this week after early reports
began to emerge about the latest Flashback variant.
- Despite what many people believe, Mac/Macintosh/Apple computers also need
protection. As of Dec/07 security experts at F-Secure say Fortress Mac is under
attack. Over the past two years, we had found one or two pieces of
malware targeting Macs, said Patrik Runald, an F-Secure security
researcher. Since October, weve found 100-150 variants.
- There is a good page of information specific to Mac computers at
includes the information "There are a number of Macintosh specific file
viruses and worms, in addition to several thousand macro viruses which affect
programs which run on Macintoshes."
- Read "Keeping Your Mac Safe In An Unsafe World" from
Information Week at www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=199902443&pgno=1&queryText=
in which "A Mac expert takes you through the threats, holes, and exploits
swirling around Mac OS X, and offers up some tips and tactics to protect your
- There are products available for virus, firewall and spyware protection for
Macs, although we have not found a reliable free program yet. Good sources for
Mac software information are Version Tracker at
- use the "Search for software" box at the top to find what you need,
and Pure Mac at www.pure-mac.com
- Antivirus programs are available for the Mac from
Norton, among others.
- Firewalls are also available from Norton and others, and a spyware
detector, MacScan is available at
|Get a better web
- And finally, our advice is to get a better browser! Unfortunately, most
people use Internet Explorer, which is not safe to use in its standard format -
experts advise either turn off some Internet Explorer features by setting all
security zones to "high" or switch to another browser as the best
- It is our opinion that Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome are much
better, faster, and safer web browsers, and are updated far more often.
- Try it - you'll like them!