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The tools you need before you surf again...

Published by Chapster on 2007/2/8 (9218 reads)
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This evening I got an e-mail - one of about 100 - that notified me that an account I had with a well-known business had it's security violated and my account had been frozen. Moreover, I had a limited time frame in which to log in to my account to update it.

I know, I know. You never click a link in such an email. And, I never do - until today.

Now, you should know that I'm fairly computer and security savvy as laypersons go. And, fortunately, about three weeks ago, our router (the device that filters the signal to your computer, etc.) died. When I installed the new router, it came with a recommendation to set up my router with OpenDNS. Being generally concerned about my computer's security and the risks of identity theft, I decided to take the few extra minutes to go ahead and install it.

Back to my tale of near-woe. This email that I received immediately caught my attention because it said that there had been fraudulent activity on one of my accounts. As I said before I NEVER click on e-mail links: When I open my email, it's always automatically scanned for spam. But, higher on my personal list of fears is that of my accounts being hijacked. When I saw this e-mail, it kicked into my higher fear before I paid attention to my lower one and I clicked the link.

Fortunately, OpenDNS caught the attempt of the email to gain my login information. It picked up on the commonly used identity theft effort called phishing. In phishing attempts hackers create emails that imitate legitimate emails from common web sites (often e-commerce sites) but embed links that, when clicked, take you to a site that will attempt to steal your information. Efforts to steal your information, financial or identity information, are always evolving.

Fortunately, there are some good folks who try to keep up with and block the bad guys. We have created a list of some tools that can help in this battle. They are free, downloadable, and readily available. Most don't take much effort to install.

Make sure before installing or using these programs that they are compatible with your operating system. If you aren't sure, take your computer to a reputable computer shop and have them install them (the programs Firefox and Thunderbird, mentioned later, have versions that will work on most computers.
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Tags: antivirus   phish   email   spam   browser   spyware  

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