Thursday, December 01, 2005

Protect your Computer and Internet Privacy by: Alex Marias

Is a known fact that every time you open a browser to view a web page, order something online, or read your email in a web based viewer that information is stored on your computer for later use. Whether you are viewing the weather online, reading sports, catching up on the latest world news or viewing something a little more private, all that information is stored in your computer. Windows operating systems store all this material in what are called Temporary Internet Files or cache. Web pages may store bits of information about who you are when you visit web sites in files called cookies on your computer. Your web browser will store a list of web sites you've visited and places you've gone in a history file in your computer. Even if you are not online, programs will store histories of the files you've opened, played, or viewed.
Generally there might not be any reason to worry about all these files in your computer, but what if you sell your computer and all that information is left for someone else to see. Maybe friends and relatives visit and use your computer and you dont want everyone to know what files you are running on your computer. Then you are going to want to know how to delete these files. Even if you are not worried about privacy on your computer, you may be surprised to realize how much hard drive space all this information takes up. If you are running out of drive space, you may want to delete these files. How can I delete these files? For Internet Explorer 5 and above, you can follow these directions to clear out temporary files and delete cookies. 1) Open Internet Explorer and click on Tools 2) Click on Internet Options 3) On the General Tab, in the middle of the screen, click on Delete Files 4) You may also want to check the box "Delete all offline content" 5) Click on OK and wait for the hourglass icon to stop after it deletes the temporary internet files 6) You can now click on Delete Cookies and click OK to delete cookies that websites have placed on your hard drive. To clear the Internet History in IE: 1) Open Internet Explorer and click on Tools 2) Click on Internet Options 3) On the General Tab, in the middle of the screen,click on Clear History 4) Click OK To clean up other temporary files on your computer in Windows 98 or higher: 1) Click Start, Programs (or All Programs), Accessories, System Tools, Disk Cleanup 2) Choose the correct drive usually C:\ 3) Check the boxes in the list and delete the files This deleting method is only good if you want to free space, because normal file deletion only removes a file's directory entry, and leaves the data contained in the file on your hard drive, which can be easily recovered by any average computer user using a undelete utility. If you delete cookies or if you delete history using conventional methods anyone can recover them! Even after a hard drive format, files can be recovered using expensive hardware and software which use forensic latency track analysis algorithms.

Phishing is Fishing for Information

No one will ever ask you for your password, social security number or credit card information in an email ;that is, a bank or anyone that you normally do business with.! It is not safe to send this kind of information in an email because it is not secure (secure means that it does not have a special web page that can only be seen by you). They would know that information anyway. If they are asking for this information you should be very leary. Never give out your personal information to a place the asks in an email and do not go to a link from an email and think that you are at the sign in page, they may just be trying to get your password! Always be careful when answering a email that asks for more information then you are willing to give out in public. Think of email as post card type mail not a sealed letter.
A bug in Internet Explorer brings more Phishing Scam woes... publicly announced the bug yesterday, which will allow phishing scam artists to capture key strokes as users enter information into log in and form pages of genuine sites while using Internet Explorer browsers (v5.01, 5.5 and 6).
The bug allows this to happen by using javascript to display the genuine site page within another domain using a frameset. By framing the genuine page in one main window of another site's page, the visitor sees the genuine page.
Framesets are commonly used in the design of web pages, they allow you to have more than one page displayed as if they were one page, above each other or beside each other such as the top banner being one, the side bar being another and the page content being another. Learn more about what exactly a frameset is here.
Microsoft are so far placing emphasis on ensuring that internet users should verify the identity of the page they are visiting before interacting with it in any way. Normally, a visitor will see the true URL in the address bar. If you want to keep current on what hoaxes in emails here are some good links:

Cleaning Your Computer Will Help It Last Longer And Work Better by: Scott Dary

To clean your mouse – The trackball can pick up dirt and dust from your desk and mouse pad. Also, the wheels that the trackball come in contact with get dirty and need to be cleaned. If you notice your mouse "doesn't work right", it may be time to clean it. First, turn your PC off. Turn your mouse over and you will see the ball sticking out of a cover. Look at the arrows on the cover and turn it in the indicated direction to open it up. Don’t worry about anything falling out. The only thing that comes out is the ball, and maybe a little dust, and you want to take that out anyway. You can clean the ball with alcohol if it needs it, but usually just wiping it off will work. A cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol works well for cleaning the wheels. When you’re done, drop the ball back in and put the cover back on. If cleaning it doesn’t help, it may be time to replace it. PC mice are usually less than $10 and are sometime free if you watch for sales in the Sunday paper.
To clean your optical mouse - If you have an optical mouse, one with a red light under it, there is no ball and you can just wipe off the lenses with a cotton swab.
To clean your keyboard - Never spray anything into your keyboard, this includes coffee. You can use a vacuum cleaner to clean dust, dirt, staples and cookie crumbs from your keyboard, but make sure your computer is off before starting, and make sure you don’t have any loose keys. Rubbing alcohol works well to clean the keys and surface of your keyboard, but use it sparingly. Using a cloth works well, as paper towels tend to leave little pieces behind. If you spill something sticky like your favorite soft drink on the keyboard, the keys will likely start to get sticky as it dries. It could be time to replace it. They too are cheap and can be free if you watch for a sale.
To clean the computer - You can use a vacuum to clean around the vents and anywhere else that looks dusty. Be careful in the back of the PC to not knock any plugs loose. It is a good idea to keep the vents clean and free of dust, pet hair or lint. How often you clean your computer depends more on the environment it's in than the manufacturer’s recommendation. I have 2 dogs that shed so I clean my computer about every 2 months. A cloth and alcohol can be used on the outside of the PC if it’s dirty but, again, turn it off first.
To clean your monitor - A vacuum can be used to remove dust from the vents. If you have fingerprints on the glass, you can use the same wipes that you would use on your glasses or use as soft cloth and warm water followed by a dry cloth. Think of your monitor glass the same way you think of glasses, if you wear them. They may have delicate coatings on them that can be scratched. Always avoid chemicals on displays.
To clean a laptop display or LCD – These displays are plastic and can also be scratched by paper products such as tissues or paper towels or damaged by chemicals. Use a cloth made for glasses or camera lenses or a soft cloth and warm water followed by a dry cloth.