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TRoach_ recommendation:
Even though you think your anti-virus software is updating automatically and properly, do a manual update at least once a week just to be sure.
If you are using a dial up service always do an
anti-virus update as soon as you log on each day.
See the Latest Virus Threats From Norton
Current time:
Click here for times around the world.

Useful links
- GriSoft - AVG anti virus software
- McAfee
-- McAfee's virus scan - (requires signup)
- - (PC-cillin)
-- TrendMicro's Free Online Virus Scan & repair

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- -- Universal Currency Converter
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- ICANN.ORG - (The Internet Corporation for
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-- ICANN's Accredited List Page

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- Word2Word

Network Speed Test:
- DSLreports.Com - several speed test sites.
-- - DSLreports' speed test
___________________for Dallas & Fort Worth, Texas
- Toast.Net - links to several speed test sites
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Payment Services (Online):
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Site Tools (tools for your web page)
- SubmitExpress meta tag analyzer
- SumitExpress link popularity check

Spyware & Adware detection and removal:
- LavaSoft- tools for removing ad & spy ware
-- LavaSoft Download Area

Vulnerability Checks:
- - (ShieldsUp - A lot of useful tools
______________________but also a lot of junk)

Whois Services:
- - (several lookup tools))

Computer Related Questions:
A semi-new way for thieves can steal your information. Without you knowing anything happened.

If you ever connect to an unsecured (open) wireless network, there is a semi-new twist that some low-lifes are using to steal/copy your personal information.

Here is basically how it works (simplified, without all the hard core technical how they do it.):

In airports, malls, shopping centers, basically anywhere there are a lot of people passing through. Areas which some people will probably want to kill a few minutes online by using one of the free Wi-Fi connections that are normally present in such locations. The thieves set up a laptop with some very special software to share the laptop's internet connection using a wireless SID name that appears to belong in the area. For instance use the name of a near by shop as part of the SID name, for example "Uncle Daves Burgers n Banjos-Guest Access".

The Victim looks around sees the shop name and decides to use that wireless connection. What is not obvious is that it is a FAKE Wi-Fi connection. Full access to the internet is usually granted so one can do most everything they want without restriction (the bad guys WANT the victim to be online). What the victim does not know is that EVERYTHING that they are doing while connected to the fake Wi-Fi is being recorded. That includes user names and passwords of any account logged into manually or automatically. Security and encryption levels vary greatly from site to site. So just because a group says that all your information is encrypted does not mean that it could not be decrypted by someone that has literally every piece of information you sent to the remote site and the remote site sent to you. (Basically think of the fake wi-fi as a nosey messenger relaying notes between your device and the system(s) you are connecting. How the bad guys do it is a bit more complex than that, but it is the general idea.)

There are several things you can do to protect yourself, when not using known safe networks:

-> Do NOT allow your system (smart phone, laptop, tablet, etc.) to connect to unknown Wi-Fi networks automatically.

-> Avoid Wi-Fi's that indicate they are AD-HOC connections. As these allow for the other system to connect directly to yours. (or yours to connect directly to theirs, depending on how you look at it.) Either way this connection method removes a lot of the security that would normally be present on regular Wi-Fi connection.

-> Make sure file sharing is turned off. That includes turning off any P2P file sharing programs one might be using.

-> Set up some VPN connections on your system. Then connect to one of the connections/activate the vpn connection when using open Wi-Fi connections or unknown networks. There are several free VPN groups available around the planet that grant a few hours of access each day. With a reasonably secure VPN an extra level of encryption is added to everything you do online. Thus making it more difficult for anyone to capture useful information about your online activity.

-> If unable to set up or use a secure VPN (they are sometimes blocked) try using a secure proxy. Proxy security levels vary greatly but they are better than nothing when connecting to unknown open networks.

The big thing to remember is that most of the "low-lifes" tend to look for easy targets. You don't need to "go crazy" with insane levels of security, but at the same time you do not want to let access to your information to be to easy either.

In our technology driven world, a little bit of "tech savvy" and good common sense goes a long way.

With computer security, can TRoach make my system 100% safe?

Much like your home or your car, if you can open the locks to get inside so can someone else. When it comes to computer security, if ANYONE has legitimate access, then there is a way for someone to break into the system or information to be stolen. The only guaranteed 100% safe system is one that has had all of its components and all of the data media melted down until all that is left is a puddle of smoldering liquid metal. Realistically all we can do is try to make it very, very difficult for the people trying to break the security. The trick, however, is finding the balance between security and keeping the system useable by legitimate users. - TRoach

Has your Cable or DSL provider given you a wireless router?

Recently several DSL and Cable providers have been giving customers wireless routers as part of the sign up package. While the router's firewall does provide a lot of protection from unwanted internet access, if one does not secure the wireless side of the router you are opening your computers & network to anyone passing by with a wireless system. The people passing by may not be intentionally trying to cause you harm nor even be aware they are attaching to your router. However, if their computer is infected with various viruses/worms your computers are open to attack, will be attacked and could be infected by the system of someone simply showing their laptop to your next door neighbor.

If you have a wireless router, always secure it by setting the SSID to a unique name and setting the WEP key(s) on both your router and any wireless computers you have. Then one extra level of security I like to do turn off the SSID broadcast on the router (when that option is available). Doing all this helps make your wireless router very difficult to access without your knowledge and consent.

Of course, if you do not have any wireless systems connecting to your router, I recommend simply disabling the wireless side of the router until you have a need for it.

I'm running up to date anti-virus and anti-spyware how am I still getting infected?

There are many ways this could happen. However one of the most common is when one downloads and installs software from questionable sites.

Unfortunately there are many sites which in their terms of service fine print indicate that if you download and use their software you are granting permission for them to include ad-ware, tracking, and even auto installation programs. Since the programs are installed by someone manually accepting ALL installation requirements this often allows the spyware/adware programs to by-pass or disable any anti-virus and/or anti-spyware software running on the system.

Thus, the computer gets infected even with up-to-date anti-virus / anti-spyware software.

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Page Last Updated: Aug 26, 2017