Here are a few of the more interesting security and Internet safety
postings we selected from the many reviewed during the past few days
FREE anti-virus and anti-spyware from the Microsoft Company
that they named "Microsoft Security Essentials" launched this past
week. It's simple, Free, provides Real Time protection and has an
automatic update feature.
I downloaded it - it's an 8.6 MB file - and was pleased at how easy
it was to install. You can download it, too, at their webpage
"Microsoft Security Essentials"
After downloading to my desktop, a click on the Icon started the
download Wizard. It was easy to follow the steps to finish the
Be patient during the next step while the program downloads the
latest virus and spyware definitions. They are the key to your
Also be prepared for a long wait during the initial scan of your
system. My first-time quick scan took 28 minutes for about 35,000
items for just the "C" drive.
No threatening items were detected, so I proceeded to select a Daily
Scanning schedule from the "Settings" dialog box.
The program isn't the most feature laden anti-malware software
available, but I feel you can't go wrong for "FREE"
Note that Microsoft is blocking users of counterfeit copies of
Windows from installing the free Security Essentials antivirus
software. However, PCs that fail their validation check will display
a second dialog that provides a link to the section of Microsoft's
site where users can purchase -- or in some cases receive a free
copy -- of Windows.
FREE anti-virus AND anti-spyware
If you are currently using other free Anti virus and Anti spyware
from AVG, Avira, or others, and if you are curious about selecting
the 'best' free safeware, check out the
On Tuesday, September 29, 2009, Alex Eckelberry of Sunbelt Software
posted some very thoughtful and in-depth comments on Microsoft
Security Essentials in his Sunbelt BLOG.
These are expert opinions from a honest competitor and worth reading.
attack on Facebook
Computerworld reports that Hackers have apparently found a way
to automate the creation of new Facebook profile pages by breaking
the challenge-response mechanism used by the site to ensure that
only humans sign up for the service.
You know - that "CAPCHA" thing that's sometimes very hard to read.
These Facebook pages are being used to spam links pointing to
malicious sites. Users who click on the links are prompted to
rogue anti-spyware tools on their systems, and we know all
about those threats from reading earlier issues of this newsletter,
The Facebook company is investigating the report and is working on
identifying and disabling the fake accounts.
Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), which is a partnership
between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center, cautions
that users of social networking sites need to be aware of such
I would add that when
you come upon a link to a site you've never visited before, DON'T
look, CLICK and then think about it - instead
Look, THINK and then Click
Twitter also sent out an alert about Direct-messaging
Twitter warned users last week that a link sent by direct message
redirects users to a malicious site that attempts to steal account
This phishing scheme sends victims to a replica of the Twitter logon
According to reports from
accounts compromised by the
attack will send out tweets (messages), which look like this
"rofl this you on here? http:// videos.twitter.*****-logins01.com,"
Last month, security researchers revealed details of a botnet that
used Twitter and the shortened URLs common on the service, as an
update service for its malicious code. In June, researchers warned
that social networks were becoming a major avenue for attacks.
The Koobface worm, which uses Facebook and MySpace to spread, was
one of the first major threats to highlight the danger of malicious
code propagating through social networks.
Another one to
watch out for - an IRS notice about
This alert from
NetworkWorld who reported last week that this IRS scam is now
the world's biggest e-mail virus problem.
What makes this so ugly is that the malware that accompanies the
fake IRS messages is a variation of the hard-to-detect Zeus Trojan.
This software hacks into bank accounts and withdraws money as part
of a widespread financial fraud scheme.
We mentioned Cloudmark(*) in a recent issue, well, they have
counted about 11 million of these IRS fraud messages sent to just
their customers since early September.
The IRS warns not to open attachments or click on links included in
e-mail that claims to come from the tax-collection agency.
See our warning, above
provides comprehensive messaging security solutions that protect
subscribers and messaging infrastructure from spam, phishing,
viruses and other harmful content.
What's your ID
Score? Identity Theft Score, that is
An ID Score differs from a Credit Score because it indicates the
risk that you might be a victim of Identity fraud. (A Credit Score
indicates your credit worthiness).
You can learn what your ID Score is at the "My ID Score" website
"My ID Score"
The site calculates a three digit number between 1 and 999. It
describes your risk of being a victim of identity fraud and gives
you real–time, actionable insight into the security of your
I checked my ID Score - it indicated a MODERATE risk of identity
fraud. It also suggested reviewing my Credit report to see if there
was any suspicious activity. They also listed the four main sites
where individuals can obtain free copies of their personal credit
* TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
Fraud Victim Assistance Division
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
P.O. Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
or mail your request to the Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
(You can print the form from
It's more than worth the time you spend in this research - for the
peace of mind that results from knowing where you stand.
October is National Cyber
Security Awareness Month
Are Your Prepared?
Why just October?
Shouldn't every month be devoted to Cyber Security - or every week,
maybe every day - how about every minute spent online?
But human nature is what it is, and with so many distractions from
anything we may try to focus on, or do, highlighting the urgency of
Cyber Security with banners proclaiming it as a special event can
help develop an awareness, and a habit for exercising sufficient
That's the goal of the National Cyber Security Alliance(*)
and they promote it with sites like StaySafeOnine.org.
Content on their Website is
developed in cooperation with many partners including government,
industry, non-profit, and education partners. Since the goal is
increased education about and adoption of cyber security practices,
all of the content found at StaySafeOnline.org (*) may be
reproduced, if provided for free, to educate the public on good
cyber security and safety practices.
I encourage everyone, young or older, to visit and benefit from the
wealth of information, tools, guidelines, and just plain common
sense presented there.
One of the best ways to minimize the threats associated with the
Internet is to be aware of them, know how to avoid them, and how to
recover from accidental entrapment by cyber criminals.
Are you ready to help spread the word? By participating in my
Security Awareness campaign, you'll be helping others stay safe, and
in turn, help yourself.
Visit Stay Safe Online here
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
StaySafeOnline.org is the National Cyber Security Alliance’s
Website. Content on the Website is developed in cooperation with
many partners including government, industry, non-profit and
education partners. Since their goal is increased education about
and adoption of cyber security practices, all of the content found
at StaySafeOnline.org may reproduced, if provided for free, to
educate the public on good cyber security and safety practices
(*) National Cyber Security Alliance - founded
in 2001, is the pre-eminent public private partnership, working with
the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), corporate sponsors
(Symantec, CISCO, Microsoft, SAIC, EMC, McAfee), and nonprofit
collaborators to promote cyber security awareness for home users,
small and medium size businesses, and primary and secondary
(also posted in
Alert blog. on Sep 20, 2009)
Family Safety section of the Firewalls-and-Virus Protection
encourages helping each other in
Internet security practices and covers basic
guidelines to make the Internet safer for children and their
families, plus - there are some valuable resources available - many
(and Here's the link to the current
Security Alert Blog posts)
Important reminder: Don't be lulled into a false sense
of security because there isn't much hyped up media news about viruses
recently. They are 'out there', but the current threat levels are
still fairly low. As I suggested in the last issue, it would be a safe move to
prepare yourself and your family for the next big security threat.
In that issue, I listed a couple of resources - still
Get this FREE ecourse on
Avoiding Current Security Threats and
Avoid Identity Theft - FREE 5 part eCourse. Feel free to
share with your family members and friends.
And remember, when you come upon a link to a site you've never visited
before, DON'T look, CLICK and then think about it - instead
Look, THINK and then Click
To your safe surfing, and a
delightful fun filled Fall season.
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