Concerned about privacy? You life is an open book unless you take steps to keep control We Show You How to protect your personal information and your computer and network.
If warranty service is needed, you can register by phone at the time the service is needed. If you register hardware or software online: The registration sometimes requires only a serial number to be entered. Omit personal information when you can and use bogus names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers. Sometimes the registrations check the validity of an email address by sending out an email before you are granted access. I use a generic, public, email address such as email@example.com or use a junk mail address if I must have the emailed validation. If you want must have passwords, info product updates sent to you, have a separate email account for that purpose. Have a specific email account for purchase online purchase receipts. I forward desirable mail to my everyday use email account for keeping or copying. Reply to spam/junk mail that offers you “opt out” or “unsubscribe” cautiously. The reply is sometimes just used to validate that address you are trying to opt out of. They may stop sending from that site but you will get junk from other sites because you have proved your email address to be used and valid. a. If it is acceptable to you, you can use a weird address as firstname.lastname@example.org for your junk mail address. The weird name will minimize randomly addressed spam. Avoid opening email attachments (to avoid viruses) unless you are expecting the attachment. An email virus alert may be a hoax. You can damage your PC’s functionality if you delete files as the email may instruct. Check the Norton Anti-Virus site before you take any action. Use a nickname when you configure a non-professional email address rather than your full name. John.Smith@aol.com is right for business, but JS@aol.com is best for a personal address. When setting up a new PC, set it up before you plug in the network connection. I have entered the name as “Private Private”, corporation as “Private” in every Windows PC and many applications set up over the last 5 years. Effects: The name is used as default as you set up email accounts (it can be easily manually changed) and/or when you must register software/hardware and you don’t need to change it unless you wish to. Install your firewall and other protective software before you plug a new PC into the Internet for the first time or install other new hardware or software. Unplug or stop using your firewall software whenever you configure a new browser account or configure an email account. (Netscape, IE, and Mozilla immediately contact their mother sites when you first use the software or create a new account – setup your home page before you reactivate your internet connection) Open your browser after the install but before you re-establish your internet connection because: The newly installed component may only try to access the net the first time you open the browser (or the component may try to open your browser automatically). Confirm that your home page in your browser has not been changed by the new component or configuration change. Use passwords intelligently. Use information other than your mother’s maiden name as a password “hint” if you can. It is common information in this information age. I use one password for my internet access, other passwords for purchases and online registrations. For example, if I buy something online with my registered address I do not use the same password as my AOL account because it can be assumed to be the same by a thief. Do not use your bank pin. Avoid entering your SS number over the net unless it is absolutely pertinent and required. A few online application sites ask for it, but I will apply by the fax, mail or at the office instead. Valid uses may be when registering for a stock brokerage account, etc. Get credit card and other bills by postal mail if don’t need the convenience of getting this information online. Learn about when and why you need to accept java scripts (aka mobile code), etc. Know that the components above can probe and /or use your: email address books bookmarks browser history Office Tracks web cache Know your web cache and how it is used by your browsers. Keeping files that exist in your web cache folder make your internet browsing faster as you repeatedly visit the same sites. Pre-existing cache files speed up page display when your return to those formerly visited pages. The speed impact is significant when you use dial up access. It is significantly less important to keep pre-existing cache files if you have high speed access (broadband) via cable modem or DSL access. Clean up your web cache on a regular basis. Daily cleanup recommended unless you have dial-up access, then clean it up at least once a week In addition to image and page fragments, the cache may contain web bugs, Java script etc. files until allotted space runs out or until you clean it up. To become familiar with the types of files, use: i. ACDSee (or other image programs) to view images in the cache, ii. Windows file manager (right click start | explore - then open the notepad program) to view non-image types. Set up your web browser (some options are browser specific) to: Keep all cache files in a convenient location so you can peruse the files in one place. Rather than the default location, I use c:/temporary/Temporary Internet Files (for IE) and c:/temporary/Netscape/cache for Mozilla and Netscape files. . Keep 50 megabytes or less as the cache maximum. Older files are cleaned up automatically by your browser when you reach the maximum. prompt for all cookies reject 3rd party cookies disable smart browsing disable cookies in mail and newsgroups not use password / form logging if you can stand the inconvenience (if option is available) control Java scripts and other web objects. Learn about cookies and other temporary internet files: The types i. 3rd party (usually from ad sites) ii. session iii. persistent iv. mobile code Which ones you must accept if your viewed web site is to work properly. Which ones you may want to keep for site convenience. Avoid using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and / or email client when possible because: Browser multiple (separate) accounts are only available when you have multiple Windows user profiles Microsoft competitors help keep MS honest and less expensive. Other browsers have better intruder control options Review every software application for update / net access options. Avoid “automatic updates” if you can. You may be able to diminish your exposure by stopping the software from sending cookies, contacting the mother site, etc. Update your anti-virus and other security software weekly or set it up to automatically update (this class of programs are the only ones I recommend for automatic updates) Use Windows update weekly (via Internet Explorer) but avoid the automatic update option. If using MS Office XP, use the update option monthly. Examples: RealPlayer CorelDraw, etc. c. MS Media player (Microsoft may update things like Media Player to version 9. It’s the most intrusive of all Media Players)
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