security, e-mail, spam, etc.
are some pointers on Internet security. For more information, read
you receive an unsolicited attachment (something you did not
specifically ask for) such as a joke, photograph, or program, DO NOT
open it. Delete it immediately! Follow this rule:
|If you didn't ask
for it, don't open it.
respond to spam.
put multiple recipients in the TO or CC lines in your e-mails.
See below on how to safely e-mail groups of people.
from sending unsolicited attachments. Call or send a note to the
recipient asking if they'd be interested in whatever you want to send.
It's only polite.
you are unsure of a web site or correspondent, use one of the free
e-mail sites for all of your correspondence with the unknown
is one source)
use the "E-mail this site to a friend" come-ons.
See below for consequences.
forward virus alerts or petitions.
give out your passwords. When creating your passwords, use
obscure word and numbers. For example, don't use your cat's or
dog's name. These are pretty easy to guess. Instead, use
the name plus a number like your mother's birthday. A password
like phydeaux is no good; phydeaux31
What's wrong with using the "E-mail this site/photo/comic/etc. to a
friend" feature found on many sites?
problem with using this very convenient feature is that your friend's
e-mail address is kept by the site. Your friend will soon receive
unsolicited advertisements and offers. In other words, you've just
given your friend's e-mail address to a spammer! Even legitimate
sites will start sending notices and other unsolicited stuff to your
friend. Rather than give them your friend's address, send your
friend a link via your e-mail. For example, use your e-mail account
and write, "Hey, check out www.ReallyCoolSite.com." This
gives your friend the option of visiting the site when he or she wants to
and keeps his or her address private.
What's wrong with forwarding virus alerts and petitions?
of them are hoaxes. And people who forward these things often do a
mass mailing using the TO: or CC: lines thus exposing the addresses of
their friends to everybody else. People have been known to use the
addresses for their own unrelated purposes or even sell them to spammers.
If you cannot resist forwarding a
message that appears important, save yourself some embarrassment and check
out the message first. There are two great sites to check the
validity of the virus alerts and petitions:
For virus hoaxes, http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/hoax.html
For petitions and stories about pesticides on soda cans,
missing kidneys, Tommy Hilflinger, etc., http://urbanlegends.about.com/
I'm receiving notices that messages I've sent are infected with a virus
but I never sent the message nor do I know the recipient. What
latest viruses (SoBig, BugBear, etc.) mask the real sender as part of
their nefarious scheme to take over the world. For example, say John
Ashcroft's computer becomes infected. The virus randomly selects two
people out of the Outlook address book, say you and Saddam Hussein.
The virus sends an infected message to Saddam (I think the medical people
call this a vector) and makes it look like you are the sender.
Saddam's anti-virus software detects the virus and sends a nasty note to
you indicating that you are propagating viruses. But like Saddam and
weapons of mass destruction, the accusation is without merit.
How do I get rid of spam?
this is the way of the Internet. When you communicate via e-mail or
place your e-mail address on a web site, purveyors of spam search for and
retrieve your address. They use software known as bots. The
bots search web sites for e-mail addresses. If you look at the
source of this web site, you'll note a Java script that breaks up the
address so their bots can't find the address.
legitimate sites can leak your e-mail address. Do
not use your business e-mail in news groups.
Use extreme caution with listserves.
Use Gmail or some other free e-mail service. You must be careful where you
send or post your address.
source that spammers mine are forwarded messages. For example,
suppose I had a typically lame joke or image to send to you and a
gazillion of my close personal friends. I'd put them all into the TO
line or CC line of my e-mail program and send the joke.
Unfortunately, either one of my friends or one of his or her friends to
which he or she forwards the joke, sells my name to a spammer.
Bingo, adult content or college diplomas start arriving in my e-mail.
The moral of the story is to use the BCC
line rather than the TO line or CC line to prevent your list from being
read by the wrong person. When using Microsoft's Outlook,
you'll find the BCC function under View when you compose an e-mail
message. You don't have to put anything in the TO line.
Now the question is, "How do I get rid
of the stuff when I'm already on the list?" You really can't
other than to change your e-mail address. Outlook has a nice
filter system that will automatically route spam to the garbage. You
still receive it but you won't have it cluttering up your In box.
But be careful as the filter may pick up valid messages with dollar signs
or other innocuous characters or words in the subject line. You'll
have to review the detritus just to make sure.
Should I write to the spammers and tell them to lose my address?
never, never respond to spam to remove your name no matter how many
promises they make. The offer to remove your name is a ruse to get
you to confirm that your e-mail address is valid.
can I find out more about spam and how to stop it?
Q: I have too many
passwords and PINs to remember. Should I make them all the same?
is a cool site called SpamCop.
You can use their free service to determine the source of the spam and
e-mail the owner of the system that sent the spam. The owner of the
mail server will typically cancel the guy's account. The slime will
just slither to another server but at least one more server will be
unavailable to their ilk. When using the SpamCop service, you should
set up a free e-mail account (Hotmail
is one source) to avoid additional spam. Also, use the free e-mail
account when corresponding with questionable folks.
A: Not a good idea. Instead, use one of the neat
programs that allow you to save all of them in a secure place on your
computer or phone.
Okay, so you won't get rid of all your passwords; but you'll only have to
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