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Friday, April 27, 2007

In Reality Spyware is always a threat

I received a spam email the other day and the subject said "Tired of reality shows? Make your own!"

Of course I deleted it and proceeded to go about my online chores, but later that email got me thinking, what if there was a 'Online Safety' reality show?

Hear me thru ok?

There would be contestants.... Say on a sunny south sea island beach, and each contestant has to accomplish a variety of tasks to win. You would get to vote one or more contestants off the show if they were too good or maybe a ringer. The same for the really dumb ones,after all, it would have to be exciting to keep the viewers interested.

So the basic task would be to succeed in staying safe online while surfing the web, and completeing various online challenges. For example, they would have to insure the computer given them was secure.... Ya know, updated with the latest from MS, etc. Then they would have to get online and insure their provider was also credible and choose which browser they want to use too.

Oh, don't forget their anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall programs, gotta make sure those work.

Now they are ready for the competition. They would have to send and receive, and reply to emails.

Hopefully they would know how to set up their email program to protect against attachments and pictures infecting them, and if not they would have to learn. Not only that, but in addition they would have to know weather or not to reply to a email, because in today's game it could be a phish or worse, a scam to get them to enter their personal info at a fake bank site.

Ok, on to the rest of the challenges, like buying a product and insuring the website used is safe.

If the checkout does not have that lil' lock icon at the bottom right, they could be in for trouble. Continuing on, they have to visit a variety of websites to gain knowledge about a given subject, hopefully they wont pick up a 'drive by download', resulting in a keylogger or a bot being installed on the computer used to compete.

Another task would be to register at a forum or blog and participate. Some programs that run forums and blogs are susceptible to hacks, hopefully they wont lose their personal info they gave when they registered to nefarious users set to sabotage their computers.

Then it gets tough. They have to download and install a program, something like a weather update service or maybe one that tracks favorite sports scores. A lot of these are loaded with spyware, adware or even malware.

At this point, some will have failed. They will have forgotten to update their antivirus or said yes to a popup that allowed some evil program to glean their passwords or such. The show will be down to a few who were knowledgeable enough beforehand or will have learned sufficiently while on the show to stay in the running.

After the last commercial, its only a half hour show ya know, it all climaxes with them visiting their bank to pay bills and access their account balance. If they can safely do this and not have given up their holy grail of information, the bank account info, they will be the winner.

The prize? Vegas of course. After all, not insuring your online security is gambling, and the house always wins.
By the way, who do you think they would pick to be the host of the show?

Me of course, I wrote the article! My lovely wife would be the Vanna White style woman wearing my "Spywarebiz" t-shirt, and telling the contestants what they have won.

Article Source:

About the Author: Doug Woodall has a website at There he provides free information and recommended products to combat Spyware,Viruses and other Online Nasties.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

EnGarde Secure Linux security software

EnGarde Secure Linux is a highly-secure open source server operating system built on a foundation of Security Enhanced Linux SELinux policies. EnGarde Secure Linux incorporates security at all levels by drawing on best-of-breed open source tools like Postfix, BIND, and the LAMP stack.

The WebTool, created by Guardian Digital, is the front-end configurator used to simplify the administration of an EnGarde Secure Linux Server. It is a remote administration tool with multiple language translations that allows for a secure configuration of many of the most common secure open source programs.

EnGarde Secure Linux offers simplified and secure remote management through a custom browser-based system of administration, the Guardian Digital WebTool, and provides free access to updates and security notices through the Guardian Digital Secure Network.

EnGarde Secure Linux Community Edition 3.0 is community-based and GPL-licensed software. EnGarde Secure Linux Professional Edition 1.5 is the commercially-supported version of EnGarde Secure Linux. Both editions are sponsored, built and maintained by the development team of security specialists at Guardian Digital, Inc. of Allendale, NJ.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Internet Safety Tips for Kids (and Parents, Employers, and Managers!)
By: The Internet Safety Advocate

Nowadays, staying safe online has become a never-ending battle – for children as well as adults. Because cybercriminals are becoming smarter and more sophisticated in their operations, they are real threats to your personal security and privacy. Your money, your computer, your family, and your business are all at risk.

However, with a little common sense and some knowledge about what to do and not do, one can surf the 'net unscathed. Here is a great set of rules for kids while they are online. I found these rules at Parents, Employers, and Managers, you can take some notes from these rules, too:

1. I will not give out personal information such as my address, telephone number, parents’ work address/telephone number, or the name and location of my school without my parents’ permission.

2. I will tell my parents right away if I come across any information that makes me feel uncomfortable.

3. I will never agree to get together with someone I "meet" online without first checking with my parents. If my parents agree to the meeting, I will be sure that it is in a public place and bring my mother or father along.

4. I will never send a person my picture or anything else without first checking with my parents.

5. I will not respond to any messages that are mean or in any way make me feel uncomfortable. It is not my fault if I get a message like that. If I do I will tell my parents right away so that they can contact the service provider.

6. I will talk with my parents so that we can set up rules for going online. We will decide upon the time of day that I can be online, the length of time I can be online and appropriate areas for me to visit. I will not access other areas or break these rules without their permission.

7. I will not give out my Internet password to anyone (even my best friends) other than my parents.

8. I will check with my parents before downloading or installing software or doing anything that could possibly hurt our computer or jeopardize my family’s privacy

9. I will be a good online citizen and not do anything that hurts other people or is against the law.

10. I will help my parents understand how to have fun and learn things online and teach them things about the Internet, computers and other technology.

Although you may follow the rules religiously, you, your computer, and your family might still be at risk because cybercriminals leave you with three choices:

1. Do nothing and hope their attacks, risks, and threats don’t occur on your computer.

2. Do research and get training to protect yourself, your family, and your business.

3. Get professional help to lockdown your system from all their attacks, risks, and threats.

Remember: When you say "No!" to hackers and spyware, everyone wins! When you don't, we all lose!

Article Source:

Etienne A. Gibbs, Independent Internet Security Advocate, consults with individuals, small business owners, and home-business entrepreneurs regarding online protection against spyware, viruses, malware, hackers, and other cybercrimes and pc-disabling issues. For more information, visit


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What Are Internet Hoaxes and Chain Letters?

What Are Internet Hoaxes and Chain Letters?

Internet hoaxes and chain letters are e-mail messages written with one purpose; to be sent to everyone you know. The messages they contain are usually untrue. A few of the sympathy messages do describe a real situation but that situation was resolved years ago so the message is not valid and has not been valid for many years. Hoax messages try to get you to pass them on to everyone you know using several different methods of social engineering. Most of the hoax messages play on your need to help other people.

Who wouldn't want to warn their friends about some terrible virus that is destroying people's systems? Or, how could you not want to help this poor little girl who is about to die from cancer? It is hard to say no to these messages when you first see them, though after a few thousand have passed through your mail box, you (hopefully) delete them without even looking.

Chain letters are lumped in with the hoax messages because they have the same purpose as the hoax messages but use a slightly different method of coercing you into passing them on to everyone you know. Chain letters, like their printed ancestors, generally offer luck or money if you send them on. They play on your fear of bad luck and the realization that it is almost trivial for you to send them on. The chain letters that deal in money play on people's greed and are illegal no matter what they say in the letter.

Article Source:

Related story: Index of Hoaxes
Etienne A. Gibbs, Independent Internet Security Advocate, consults with individuals, small business owners, and home-business entrepreneurs regarding online protection against spyware, viruses, malware, hackers, and other cybercrimes and pc-disabling issues. For more information, visit