Computing At The Moment ,  By Joe S.

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     I liken the internet to the old days of the wild West. The good guys far outnumber the bad but the bad guys know every dirty trick in the book and they invent more by the minute. It is also largely a lawless land  because the internet knows no borders and the bad guys are either agents of rogue governments or they shield themselves from prosecution in countries which lack anything more than symbolic government or laws and have no extradition agreements.

     Computer and internet security must be taken very seriously when simple errors in typing can lead to identity theft or extortion and accidentally divulging an address, phone number or family names can lead to violent crimes such as rape, murder, robbery,  kidnapping or stalking with intent.

     Some basic rules :

 1) NEVER allow children to access the internet unsupervised. NO EXCEPTIONS.
 2) Be particularly careful of the content you post to social media like FaceBook and check your security settings with them frequently.
 3) NEVER post your (real) full name, address, phone number or other personal identity information. I even refrain from posting photos of myself or family. Look  carefully through this website and you'll find many  subtle security measures in play, you'll find that it is possible to keep yourself and your personal interests perfectly secure while maintaining open, personal communications and an air of well mannered decency.
 4) Use (at least) two email addresses, one very closely held for personal and business use and the other(s) for everything else.
 5) Take the time to create and use UNIQUE 8 - 10 digit alphanumeric passwords, change them at least on a quarterly basis, do NOT  list them somewhere  in the  computer and do NOT use a "master password", if your master gets cracked - you lose EVERYTHING ! It's not so difficult really, after all, how  many different 8 or 10 digit telephone numbers are committed to your personal memory ?
 6) Install & use a first class security suite consisting of an antivirus program, live malware protection and a firewall. The BEST of which are fully automatic  and available at NO CHARGE for personal use !  By name they are AVIRA and AVG antivirus and Microsoft security essentials, ALL of which include live malware protection. Firewalls are ZONE ALARM by Checkpoint software and COMODO Firewall. BOTH have a learning curve but Z.A. is easier all  around to deal with and NO, Windows firewall is NOT sufficient although a properly set up ROUTER firewall usually IS !
 7) THINK before you visit a website. Websites automatically harvest data from every single visitor and can be programmed to follow you as you surf the web indefinitely ! The information harvested seems harmless enough, ( time of visit, what pages visited, how long on site or on a page, browser type, I.P. address, cookie set - y/n ) but the problem is that this information, in the wrong hands and paired with other personal information you may have naively given out holds the potential to set you up for big trouble.
 8)  Don't just click away that annoying little pop-up window. The "OK" and the "Cancel" buttons probably both trigger a virus. Dismiss the pop-up by clicking on the closure "X" in the upper right corner. I f "X" does not close the window, it is almost certainly some type of nasty critter and the best chance of avoiding it is to restart the computer immediately.
 9)  People, even our best friends and closest relatives are curious. Avoid embarrassing situations by securing your computer with a password.