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Internet Security

Pastfinders covered some security issues in our Computer Users' Group meeting of September 19, 2002 (Sept 19, 2002). There are new threats ocuring all of the time Members send me information on threats that they receive and suggest I send them to all members. Rather than do that, I've created this page to be updated frequently.But this page cannot cover them all in a timely fashion, and so the links to other sites here can keep the wary computer user up-to-date on the latest threats. I suggest you select one of these links and copy it to your favorites file and check it often, especially if you are suspicious of an email that you've received.

The latest threats supposedly from Paypal, eBay, Best Buy and others request you to click on a link to update the information that they have on file for you. DON'T DO IT. If you point to the link and right click on it and then click on PROPERTIES, it will reveal the real URL (address) where your information will be sent. It won't be what you thought. Even if it includes the company name, it may vary from what you use to get to the site. If Paypal or eBay need information from you, they'll ask for it the next time you visit the site. Right click on this linkand then click on PROPERTIES. Pastfinders. It's called "spoofing" and is easy to do so beware.

Another new threat is called "Modem Hijacking". A hacker can cause your modem to hang up and dial a new number and he can then run up a huge long distance phone bill. Check your phone bills to see if you've been hijacked and then shut them off by not allowing active X contols. Internet Explorer security levels MEDIUM and MEDIUM LOW do not allow unsigned Axtive X controls to run. Open Internet Explorer, click on TOOLS, Internet OPTIONS and then clik the tab labelled SECURITY. The slider should be at medium or higher. You can get a free test at Click at the top of the page where it says "Here for the dialer story from PCMAG? Click here."

If you're executing a secure transaction on the Internet, check for the lock in the lower right corner. It should be locked and not open. If you can't find the lock, check the URL in the address bar. It should start with HTTPS where the S stands for Secure. If the S isn't there, the site is not secure and the transaction will not be encrypted so that no one can interperet it if they intercept it.

The F-Secure site lists many hoaxes and scams. You'll find the Paypal scam there. Click here.

The Department of Energy has a site that tracks security issues but it's best for checking on hoaxes. Click the logo to go to their Hoaxbusters page.

Virus information can be found at this site . There is also a free virus scan so that you can see if you are infected.

is an anti-virus maker and their site has virus definitions and cleaning instructions. Click the logo.

With any computer problem whatsoever, type some identifying names into Google and look through the results to find the answer most appropriate. For example, try entering paypal scam into Google and you'll find a wealth of information on the subject.