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Monday, August 18, 2008

If You Sell Anything Online Your ePockets Are Being Picked

You and I are a lot alike. We are both software publishers and eBook authors getting hosed on a regular basis. You and I, my friend, are victims of software piracy that accounted for over $24 BILLION dollars in lost revenue over the last two years*. There are so many ways people can get your product for free these days. If we continue doing nothing we will lose even more money this year as potential customers become more and more aware of just how easy it is to obtain digital products without paying for them.

The question is, why do we put up with this? When we sell our downloadable products they are being easily and freely distributed (read: STOLEN) by the very same people that we are trying to get to purchase. And don’t be fooled, this still occurs very regularly today even though a lot of us take precautions against it. This confirms that people want our products, they just don't want to pay for them …because they don't have to. In fact, 70% of potential customers won't if they can get it for free*.

We know the ideal scenario; what’s supposed to happen. Consider Bob Jones and his knot tying eBook, “Scoutmaster Bob’s Guide To Knots”. Bob uploads his eBook to his web server and creates a sales link to sell it, and this sales link goes through to his payment processor. After the order is placed the customer is redirected to the download page, or "Thank-You" page, in order to automate the delivery process.

Now Bob figures he’s all set up and starts his massive promotion efforts. He spends lots of time and money getting people to visit his site and convinces them to place an order because it really is a great product. So, the customers place orders via the sales link then are redirected back to the download page automatically to get what they’ve paid for. Perfect automated system, right? Sorry Bobby, in a perfect world maybe. But here’s what really happens.

“Back Door” #1:

Our boy Bob sets up a sales link, a download redirection link (where people go after successfully ordering) and spends time and money promoting his site. People come and visit his web site and feel that they could really use such an extensive knot tying resource and want a copy of it. A couple people place orders and Bob is happy. Because Bob has created such a great product they tell their friends about Bob’s eBook. But instead of telling their friends to check out Bob’s web site they simply email them a copy of the actual eBook. Why not, it doesn’t cost Bob any money right? Those people then tell their friends, who tell their friends, who tell their friends. A couple of weeks later Bob’s knot tying eBook is in the hands of hundreds, even thousands of people…for free. And this is just the first “back door”.

There are three (3) "Back Doors" that people use regularly to easily obtain free access to your product:
Back Door #1: Get a copy via email, newsgroups, forums, eBay, MSN, ICQ, ... whatever
Back Door #2: Get refunded and keep the product
Back Door #3: Locate the download page without paying

And here’s another scary fact: For every 10 copies downloaded, 4 of those are stolen*. How lightly would you take it if you sold a tangible product, like a t-shirt, and only 6 out of ten t-shirts that left the store were paid for? These are lost sales and income forgone, there’s no more blunt way to put it. If you can guarantee that the only way they can get your product is through your payment process you’ve just stopped that leak and increased your profits.

But right now online merchants have no idea who is really downloading their products, or what happens after the downloaded. They lose total control of its distribution. Some thieves/weasels/snakes …whatever you want to call them… even go so far as to sell stolen software and eBooks as their own for a greatly reduced price. This is probably the greatest risk to selling a digital product, and if you ask anyone that’s been doing it for a while they will have experienced this nightmare first hand. The people out there that do this are much worse than one guy that just gets your product for free. These people distribute hundreds or thousands of your product and you don’t see a cent of it. They saturate the market and decrease the value of your product, until it’s virtually worthless. They have to be stopped.

“Back Door” #2:

Back to Bob. There is another big problem for Bob when it comes to protecting his eBook. He doesn’t know that many payment processors promptly, and without hesitation, honor each and every refund request, no questions asked. Seriously…no questions at all, one simple email is all it takes. There's usually no need for the customer to explain anything, just that they would like a refund. They will get their refund right away and the you, the merchant, don’t have a say in the matter at all. And you guessed it, they get to keep the product, for free. There is no requirement to return the product like with a traditional refund, since there's no way to be sure the product was really deleted. Imagine the absolute uproar brick-and-mortar merchants would be in if customers were allowed 100% unconditional refunds on request, and the customer gets to keep the shirt, vacuum cleaner, DVD player, or whatever? Ridiculous right? But it happens to online merchants like Bob every day.

“Back Door” #3:

Lastly, Bob’s uploaded product is also easily and regularly downloaded for free by potential customers right from his own web site. People can get to his download page in any number of ways. For example, open up Google. Type this into the search box: “thankyou.htm ebook download”. Now go to the second and third pages. Here are some free products for you if you were the type to download copyrighted material without paying for it. Of course I’m not suggesting you do that, in fact I ask you NOT to download these products, just look at the thank you page to see that the “back door” is certainly easy to find. These people are just like Bob, and they work hard to create their web sites and their products. They are simply unaware of the kick-in-the-teeth they’re taking by not protecting it.

Some conscientious merchants claim, "I'm safe, I protect my download location with a third-party tool that creates my download location on the fly." This is a false sense of security and it only blocks one back door. Basically this protection method simply hides the download location, but the product is still just as susceptible to being freely distributed after the download. And it can still be kept if a refund is issued. This is equivalent to the banks simply hiding all the money instead of putting it in the bank vault.

So how are online merchants like Bob, and you, and me supposed to stay afloat? As it is now, the only way to turn a profit is to rely on people’s goodwill in hopes that they will do the right thing. And be content in the fact that some people don't know how easy it is to get online products for free, so these people actually pay for the product. So, if you think about it, within this system it's pure luck that anyone actually pays for a digital product.

But there is hope. There is a real way to stop all types of thieves and freebie-seekers. We must protect the product itself with unique identifiers and access codes for each customer. And until more of us become wise to this one simple truth rampant software and eBook piracy will continue to plague online merchants.

* - average 40% worldwide software piracy rate for 2001 & 2002, and dollar losses totaling $24.05 billion, based on intensive studies by the Business Software Alliance, and the report - "Quantifying Online Downloading of Unlicensed Software : Survey of Internet Users for BSA - May 29, 2002"

Saturday, August 16, 2008

How Did This Happen to Me? Top 10 Ways to Get Spyware or Viruses on Your Computer

If you use the internet, you have probably been infected with a virus, trojan or spyware. According to the SANS Internet Storm Center, the average unprotected PC is infected within 20 minutes of normal internet usage. Many people want to know what they did to get infected. Unfortunately, usually it was just one wrong click.

Here are the top reasons people get infected and how to prevent these common internet security threats.

10. Exchanging files in chat rooms.

You should never download files from sources you don’t trust. Viruses and other internet security threats can look like valid files or photos. Always scan files with a virus scanner before opening them.

9. Clicking on popup ads.

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t like popup ads. But whether you like them or not, you should never click on them. Popup ads can take you to a website that secretly downloads adware onto your computer. Enabling a popup blocker on your computer can help protect you. Some popups come from adware programs that have downloaded onto your computer, so if you still see popups after installing a popup blocker, scan your computer for spyware or adware.

8. Email attachments.

Viruses can be sent out as email attachments to infect your computer if you open them. If you download your email into an email program, scan all email attachments with a virus scanner. Most major webmail programs scan attachments before you download them, but you should still not download files from unknown sources. “Phishing” email, claiming to be from your bank or other financial institution which asks you to provide personal information or download something to your computer is another common email threat.

7. Instant messaging.

Because people are cautious with email attachments, new viruses are spreading through instant messaging programs. Infections look like valid files or photos, so always be careful accepting file transfers, even from sources you trust.

6. Downloading music.

Many websites that advertise free music downloads are loaded with spyware. You can even get spyware from these websites without manually starting a download. Other sites make you accept a spyware download to get the music you want.

5. Browsing websites.

Some websites use “drive-by downloads” – misleading dialogue boxes to secretly install spyware programs. Sometimes spyware can install even if you do not choose “yes” or “accept”. Keep your browser security settings on default to protect yourself against these infections.

4. Installing free programs or screen savers.

Check the license agreement of any program you install to confirm it does not come bundled with other programs. License agreements are supposed to explain if the software you are downloading will cause advertisements or other downloads. These programs may have long or confusing license agreements where they have buried this information. Always carefully read what you agree to before you download free software.

3. Adult-related websites.

Many of these sites make a profit by forcing viewers to download spyware and adware to access their site. You may not be able to view these sites if you are using a secure browser or have your security settings too high.

2. P2P programs like Kazaa or Limewire.

If you share music using peer-to-peer networks, you may be forced to download advertising software onto your computer. This software can generate popups from within your computer. In these cases, you may see popups even if you are not online.

1. Gaming websites.

It may seem that viewing spoilers for online games will let you win faster, but it can slow down your computer with spyware. Mick Lathrop, part of StopSign’s Spyware Research team says, “I get most of my spyware samples from gaming-related websites.” Avoid any site that requires a software download to access information.

Even if you have an anti-virus product on your computer, confirm that it protects against the growing threat of spyware. Enable a popup blocker and firewall for further protection. Using safe browsing habits and good security software can keep you safe on the internet.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Is Shopping Online For Your Horse Gifts Safe?

Shopping for horse gifts or other gift items on the internet
is quick, convenient and is probably safer than you think.
However, you still need to be aware that it is essential to
vigorously protect your privacy and financial information
when making purchases online.

If you take the necessary precautions to protect
yourself when shopping for those special gifts for horse
lovers, it should be no riskier than buying by mail order or
over the phone.

To make your shopping experience a safe and happy one, the
Following suggestions may be of help:

1. When shopping, always be sure that the Web site is secure
before you provide any financial information, like your bank
account number or credit card information.

Secured Web sites will use encryption to scramble your
information when transmitted over the Internet.

There are a couple of ways for you to identify if a Web site
is secure.

a. A Web site address that is secure is preceded by "https".
For example,https// letter s at
the end of http indicates that Web site is secure.

b. Look for a yellow or golden closed lock or an unbroken
key at the bottom of your browser window.

Web sites may use other symbols to indicate their Web
site is secure, so if you don't see the two symbols
mentioned above continue to investigate and see if you can
locate other symbols or information indicating their Web
site is secure.

2. Still uncomfortable with providing your billing
information over the Internet? Then you might want to ask
the business you're shopping if they use alternate methods,
such as the telephone.

3. Whenever possible, it is recommended paying by credit
card; this will offer you added protection if a dispute
should arise.

4. If you prefer not paying by credit card, request that
your purchase be sent C.O.D. You can make your payment by
check or money order, this is easier to trace than cash. It
is probably a good idea that you never pay in cash for
obvious reasons.

5. Some businesses display the Better Business Bureau logo
on their Web Site, others do not. If you're not feeling at
ease, consider checking with the Better Business Bureau for
a reliability report. The report will include such
information as; the length of time the company has been in
business, the company's complaint history and whether
the business participates in BBB programs, such as dispute

6. If you shop online auctions, be sure you exercise the
same good sense you use for your other transactions. Do your
homework. Check the "feedback" areas of online auction
sites; most of the time they are a good source for getting
information about other buyers' who have purchased from the
seller. You can always check with the Better Business
Bureau nearest the seller for any complaints if the seller
is a business.

Copyright © Mike Gorzalka All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008



Computers and securities must form a strong partnership to keep information safe and secure. It is important for people who spend time surfing the web to understand much of the information given out is easily accessible by individuals who desire to eavesdrop on the data. Unless the web site you are viewing has taken special precautions to secure the web pages, they are open for anyone with the right tools to intercept information over the Web.

Data security has taken on new meaning in recent years, particularly with the introduction and widespread use of the Internet for people and businesses to take care of the things they need to do. Many people see the Internet as a big open door inviting almost anyone to enter their system and stay for a while. With the proper measures, this does not have to be the case and you can effectively close the door and only allow a select group of people inside.

There are a number of different ways you can get the data security you need to protect your system through the use of software. Some of these programs work to defend your system by providing encryption which basically scrambles information so it can not be utilized until it has been properly unscrambled on the system or another one. You can find programs that will inspect your system, looking for holes others may take advantage of and offering solution.

Software exists allowing the person in charge of the network to know the instant an intruder is noticed on the system so appropriate steps can be taken quickly. There are many other good programs on the market you help you protect your system and data. Be proactive and find the solutions you need before you absolutely need them.

Getting Data Security Software

By far, the best place to start your search for the data security software you need is through the Internet. You can learn in detail about different software packages currently available and choose the one or combination of them to provide the security you need. Making sure your data is secure should not be left to chance.


Email encryption can be a great step to make sure the messages you send via email are kept completely private and out of the view of anyone else. One of the great things about living in the USA is the ability to pass snail mail from one person to another without worrying about anyone reading through it and casting aspersions. Some people living in countries not so free do not have the freedom to send mail without fear. The same privacy we receive in snail mail is what we should expect when sending digital mail to people we care about. While you do not need to worry about the government reading through your email (for the most part), other people may eavesdrop. There are a number of people who get a thrill out of looking at other people's email without permission by using various programs to snoop into the email.

One of things to consider is some people do not use any kind of email encryption whatsoever. These people are basically writing information on a wall for anyone who desires to read it and look it over. While you may not be passing any personally sensitive material, you may not want people to know the details of your life found in the emails you send.

Email encryption basically allows your computer to encode your message so that it does not make sense to people who may intercept it. The person it is meant for can decode the message to read it properly


Security software is all about protecting your computer systems and data from those who would like to gain access to it for a variety of reasons. Many companies have found it necessary to create websites to tell the world who they are and what they have to offer but it also carries with it a problem. The moment you put up a web server at your site, you are inviting the world to your site and possibly to other portions of your system.


Spam filters can be one of the best tools you can use to get rid of practically all of the junk mail you and/or your company receives. It is amazing the amount of spam delivered to people all across the United States of America each and every day. Various companies help to deliver hundreds of millions of advertisements and contacts to people each and every day through email in the USA alone.


Intrusion detection systems can be the safeguard you need to protect your computer system from unauthorized access by people who do not have your permission to be in a particular area of the system. It is a step to make sure your data and IT systems are as safe as possible all of the time. You should recognize the possibility of intruders entering your system from remote locations outside of your network and from inside it as well.


Virus protection should be a part of every single computer used to surf the Internet or to work as part of a network. If you can read this page, posted on the web, you need to have some sort of quality virus protection on your computer. It seems almost everyone has had some kind of bout with a virus of some type either catching it and destroying it or suffering from its damaging effects.


Email filters can read your email so you do not have to read every single message delivered to your computer. It is amazing to consider the impact email has had on people's lives since it was first introduced to the general public back in the 1990's. I can remember the computer systems designed to specifically handle email and very little else so people could keep in contact with friends and relatives many miles away.


Encryption is one of the most popular ways information is protected and has been a way to send hidden or secret messages from one place to another. The idea is based on an age old practice called cryptography which is a coded message sent an individual who has the key to unlock the message in code so that it makes sense. Coded messages have been found dating back as far as the Roman Empire.


Computer virus protection should be one of the most important aspects of your computer system no matter if your computer is part of a huge network or is a single personal computer. There are a couple of different kinds of viruses and many variations of them, some of which have literally traveled around the world. Usually, once a virus has settled into a computer, it looks for the opportunity to duplicate itself and email itself to others.


Web server software is one of the most important aspects of your server allowing people to view your website at any time day or night. The Internet has had a profound effect on the entire world and continues to grow more and more each hour of every day as people produce unimaginable amounts of information worldwide. Unfortunately, with all of the web traffic, there are also some people who do not use the Web for good.


Web site filters are a wonderful way for companies to make sure their employees are visiting websites appropriate to their job description. One of the major difficulties with the Internet is the amount of inappropriate websites popping up when you search for almost anything on the Internet. Imagine what would happen if your receptionist is looking up information pertinent for his/her job and a pornographic site pops up as a customer enters the door who catches a glimpse of the pictures on the monitor.


Server software is at the very heart of any computer network as it provides the tools needed to make the network operate properly. After investing in quality hardware for the network, it is of equal importance to make sure the software used is of high quality and performs the tasks you desire efficiently without fail. You want to make sure you have a powerful combination of both hardware and software


The Childrens Internet Protection Act was introduced to congress in 1999 with the idea of providing some level of protection for the content minors are allowed to view on certain computer systems. All schools with minors in attendance must follow the rules established by this law. Also, any public place providing Internet access to the public which includes minors must also follow this law.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Anti-Spyware Protection: Behind How-To Tips

There is no doubt that "how-to articles" have become a separate genre. One can find such an article about almost anything; there are even some entitled "How to Write a How-To Article". And, of course, the Web is swarming with the ones like "10 Steps to Protect Your PC from Spyware"(if not 10, any number will do; odd ones like 5,7,9 are most popular) or "How to Forget About Spyware For Good". Please don't accuse me of being sarcastic -- I am not; all these articles by all means are informative and so very useful. They all include really handy tips to protect you from this recently emerged plague called spyware. But…

A typical how-to article is short and snappy, with all unnecessary particulars carefully avoided. An ideal one is a clear scheme of what to do and how (because it is a how-to article). Some essential facts will surely be omitted just for the sake of brevity. Let's look into the author's "trash bin" for info ruthlessly (and maybe baselessly) thrown away.

Hint one: What on earth is spyware?

When you decide to apply "anti-spyware protection", you'd better realize what you want to be protected against. Unfortunately, there is not such thing as complete security. And…

"There is no such thing as spyware in itself"-- you are perplexed, aren't you? I bet you are; what's more, it was Kaspersky who recently expressed this opinion. "The term spyware is basically a marketing gimmick," wrote Kaspersky in the company weblog on March 03, 2005. "Just to separate new ersatz-security products from traditional ones, just to push almost zero-value products to the security market."

This quote (extremely curtailed and out of the context) have already spread all over the Internet, but it is very useful to read the whole posting to see the whole picture, so visit

Few definitions caused so much controversy and confusion as did "spyware". Eugeny Kaspersky blames marketers for having coined this term--and partially he is right. But only partially.

As a professional, he classified various malicious programs according to their structure and characteristics; in this classification there is indeed no place for "spyware", which is too vague term to exactly denote anything with a particular structure.

On the other hand, marketers and journalists needed an expressive, easy-to-remember word to name existing (!) information-stealing programs to tell users (who may be not so versed in software as its developers) how to protect their computers.

What is "spyware" then? Spyware is a commonly used general term for any type of software that gathers personal information about the user without his or her knowledge and transmits it to a destination specified by the author of the program. Spyware applications are frequently bundled in other programs--often freeware or shareware--that can be downloaded from the Internet.

So, the term is very general and doesn't reflect either structure or characteristics of such software. After all, it is only a conventional word for programs that steal information.

According to Kaspersky, programs which are now called spyware, have existed for years. It's true. Who disagrees? Password-stealing Trojans were actually known as far back as in 1996. But it's also true that most dangerous information-stealing programs are on the rise. Spy Audit survey made by ISP Earthlink and Webroot Software (the survey lasted for a whole year 2004) showed--16.48% of all scanned consumer PCs in 2004 had a system-monitor, 16.69% had a Trojan.

Another bitter truth is that some unscrupulous producers now are jumping at the chance of making quick money. There are lots of suspicious, low-performing, or adware-installing products. See, for example, the list at But saying that all the dedicated anti-spyware solutions are like that…To put it mildly, it's a bit too much.

Hint Two: Too Many Promises Made -- Is it Possible to Keep them?

There are loads of software programs nowadays created for fighting spyware. An ordinary consumer tends to get lost in plenty of information and lots of products, which are supposed to help him get rid of spyware. If all the advertising claims were true, it would have been easy. In reality it isn't.

Anti- spyware and anti-viruses work almost the same way. The efficiency of most anti-spyware programs is determined (and restricted, too) by signature bases. The more code clips (i.e. signatures) there are in the base, the more effectively the program works – it means the more spyware programs it can identify. Only programs from the signature base are recognized as spyware; all other spy programs will be running unnoticed and unstopped.

So, absolutely all the signature- basis- containing programs are pretty much the same, whatever their ads say. They all rely on the same "match pattern"; the difference is only how many signatures each of them contains.

What conclusion we can make here? The bigger the signature base, the more reliable the product is, no matter whether it is anti-spyware or an anti-virus. If the software applies signature base, it's better to choose a product from a big company, which can afford spending plenty of money on research and updates.

Another conclusion we can make is that all such software without constant updating pretty quickly becomes useless and even dangerous, because users still expect it to protect their PCs. New spyware is constantly being developed, and anti-spyware developers have to catch up with it all the time. This race started when very first malicious programs appeared, and it is impossible to say whether it will ever end.

Friday, August 8, 2008

New CipherSend Online Security Service Thwarts Email Address Theft And Soothes Password Fatigue

In 1997, I decided after 15 years as a practicing CPA that it was time to put down my pencil and explore a new venture on the exciting new internet which, while perhaps not exactly in its infancy at that point, was still at least a pimply faced teenaged medium still unexplored by most accountants.

I founded and made a life for myself and a few other employees by designing and managing websites for CPA firms across the country. We had no competition in the early, heady days of the late 90's and were able to quickly secure a name for ourselves by offering quality sites to quality firms.

Since 1997 however, the internet has grown from a pimply faced teenaged medium to a...well, goliath-sized pimply faced teenaged medium. I can recall getting my first spam messages in the early days of email and like everyone else, I thought they were "kinda' neat" in the way that my teenage daughters think college mail is "kinda' neat."

As a website developer in 2005 however, spam has become the bane of my existence. Invariably, once a week, we get a call or email from a CPA exasperated by the volume of spam email he or she is receiving and, also invariably, we - or the website we host for the accountant - gets the blame. "Please remove all of our email addresses off the site!" they proclaim with finality.

So much for the golden age of instant internet communication at your fingertips. Dutifully, we would comply with their requests and it wasn't until I endeavored to solve another common CPA complaint that I stumbled on the perfect solution for email theft.

For several years, the second most common complaint coming from my CPA clients was concerning an easy way to have clients email them securely from their website. After we explain to them the intricacies of password management and secure logins, they immediately dropped their security plans. They, like everyone else on the internet, suffer from "password fatigue" and weren't about to subject their clients to learning and remembering yet another password just to send their CPA some tax information.

About a year ago, we finally decided there SHOULD be an easy way to just click on a website or email link and download a person's encryption key so that you can email encrypted documents to the individual. We searched. There wasn't. Seeing a critical need not only for our CPA clients, but also for attorneys, physicians and other financial professionals, we called an encryption programmer, gave him our idea and said "do it."

The result is which began selling in March of 2005 for $19.95. As the encryption programmers promised, it works perfectly for what we needed (click the button, encrypt anything and send it with no password), but imagine our surprise when we realized it also solved an even bigger problem - spambots stealing our clients' email addresses!

When our clients replace their email addresses with CipherSend buttons, spambot crawlers are stopped in their tracks. The button-owner's email address is stored on our secure server, not on his or her public website. Needless to say, both we and our clients were rather delighted that a "side effect" of the program was even better than the intended cure!

The service is ideally suited for professionals and physicians who can now quickly and easily receive secure documents from clients, associates and patients at their standard email address without the inconvenience of giving out passwords or secure logins, but it is also finding a huge market among millions of aggravated spam victims needing to replace an email address posted on a public website or included in the coding of a contact form.

CipherSend offers advantages over standard website email or contact forms with its spam-block security and double notification to site visitors when their email has been delivered and again when it is opened by the recipient. Despite the low price, CipherSend uses sophisticated 2048-bit RSA asymmetrical (two-key) encryption algorithms with maximum key length and meets government security regulations required in the healthcare industry for the transfer of patient medical information.

Since messages and documents are encrypted right on the sender's computer with a downloaded public key and decrypted by the recipient's private key, CipherSend represents true end-to-end security. A demo of the button can be found on the website and the program has a 30 day free trial membership.

Generally, "the law of unintended consequences" is a nightmare scenario for people introducing a new product or service on the market, but for this fortunate CPA, "two birds with one stone" just took on new meaning and made my life a whole lot less stressful!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Protecting Your Children On The Internet

If you are a parent, as am I, I think we can agree there is
little else more important than keeping our children safe
and protected. It's difficult enough keeping them safe from
the unscrupulous people we read about in the news, but
dealing with children and the Internet takes it to a
completely new level.

Many young people find instant messaging and e-mail a
convenient and fun way to talk with their friends. If you
have children, like me, when they're not on the phone,
they're talking with their friends on the Internet. We have
very strict rules and guidelines about who they can talk
with and for how long. We have given them detailed
instructions on what to do when they receive e-mail from
someone they don't know or receive an anonymous instant

Recently, someone close to me received a death threat via an
anonymous instant message. The language this person used was
so vulgar and explicit you would have thought it came from a
prison inmate. Interestingly enough, the person at the other
end was a child.

After significant investigation we determined this person
was a school mate. They had received detailed information about
the child including the child's instant messenger alias,
their home address and color, and what type of cars the
family drove. Can you imagine how scared this child and
child's family was? Quite frankly, it was not only sad but
sickening that another child could be so verbally brutal.
Additional investigation revealed that the school these
children go to were aware that this had been going on for
quite some time. Other children had been receiving
similar threats.

This particular event was all the result of several children
speaking in a chat roam and one child in particular got
upset about something that was said. That child contacted
another child, who is known to be mean, and asked them to
scare one of the other children. We got to the bottom of the
whole mess and everyone felt a bit of relief.

It's very important to pay attention and, in some cases,
monitor what children are doing on the Internet. It's for
their protection and the protection of others. I'm sure I am
going to get an ear full from privacy rights advocates on
this one. Regardless, the safety of our children is one of
the most important tasks a parent has.

If your children use e-mail and Instant Messaging on a
regular basis you should;

1) Limit the number of people they can e-mail and message with;

2) Work with them to develop an approved list of friends;

3) Limit the amount of the time they spend e-mailing and

4) Make your presence known while they are e-mailing or
messaging; and

5) If necessary install some sort of monitoring software to see
what is going on in chat rooms.

Update: Shortly after writing this article, a 13 year old
boy at a middle school in my area was arrested for e-mailing
death threats to two teachers. In one e-mail he indicated he
was planning on bringing a gun to school to kill a teacher.
The other e-mail, sent to a teacher at a different school,
indicated that he planned on targeting students as well. For
further details please see the full article at South
Florida's Sun Sentinel "

For information on computer monitoring software take a look
at WatchRight

A good site to visit to learn more about protecting children
on the Internet is It's full of great
information every parent should know. Other sites you may
want to visit are, and
Obscenity Crimes Reporting

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Backup and Save your business!

There you are busily typing away on your PC or your
Laptop, and all of a sudden the strangest thing happens.
The screen goes black, extinquished like a candle in the
A message appears saying: "The file hal.dll is missing or
corrupt. Windows can not start." Well you know that 95% of
computer glitches are solved by a simple reboot, so
click…oops, can't click, no Windows. Ok then, you reset,
and you think you are sure to be OK when the reboot
Wrong! The same error message appears "The file hal.dll is
missing or corrupt. Windows can not start." How is it
possible for one measly file to kill your system?
DISASTER…What to do now? Phone your tech friend and ask
his advice. He tells you the bad news. You are obliged to
re-install Windows from the original disc! Oh My God! Will
I lose all my programs and data? Yes, you will have to re-
install all your programs. No your data may be safe, but
only if you don't have to reformat your hard disc.
But, your friend asks, I hope you have all your backups.
DO YOU, because that is the key to saving your business.
You know that in today's business world, 95% of your
business information is stored on your computer. This
applies not only to online businesses, but also to offline
ones. In this paperless society of ours, business people
are printing less and less of all their transactions.
Think hard. Where the heck did I hide my original Windows
disc? Really, are you organized enough that you can easily
find your original installation discs, along with the code
numbers they need to re-install.
You own some programs you downloaded off the Net, but they
are stored on your hard drive. Are they backed up? When is
the last time you backed up your data, the lifeblood of
your business.
What backup system do you use? Do you use the old-
fashioned tape systems, or do you backup to CD or DVD?
Whichever one you use, the key is that your backups must be
frequent enough to keep you out of major trouble.
Program backups do not have to be constantly repeated like
Data does. Programs do not change, unless you downloaded an
update. Then your update must be saved on your hard drive,
and also backed up.
Data includes so many different things that it's easy to
forget to back up some items. 'My Documents' contains much
of the data, but not nearly all. Do you know where your
Favorite links are stored? Where is your email that you
saved? Along with your email address book, Microsoft hides
these files quite well.
It took me weeks to find, and then remember where they are
hidden in Documents and Settings. I never did find the
email settings, so have not saved those.
Bottom line: what should you back up, and how often?
Whatever media you use, you must have at least 2 current
backups of everything, and preferably 3. If you use CD or
DVD, have you ever noticed how some discs suddenly become
unreadable, and for no apparent reason. It happens oh too
frequently.. I lose up to 15% this way. CDs have an
expected shelf life of maybe 2 years. Some will surely last
longer, too many die prematurely.
Does that mean you should not use CDs or DVDs to back up?
Of course you should. It is the cheapest backup system I know about. But you MUST have more than one copy. I prefer 3.
The proof of this comes when you save your business by
being able to start over because your backups are up to
Imagine if you lose all your programs and have to buy them
over again.
Imagine if you lose all your emails that have your
registration codes for the programs you bought online. And
what about all the sales and purchase data in your emails.
What about your contact list, your email lists, etc.
Imagine losing all your accounting data that you must have
for year-end tax reporting!
Enough said. Programs already backed up on 2 or 3 copies only need to be updated by adding new programs you buy, and upgrades that come out.
Data should be backed up based on the frequency of your
transactions. It could be daily, or every 2 or 3 days if
your business is in the early growth stage..
Without backups…your business may be dead in the water!
Don't get careless. You may say I will save a disc or two
by backing up less often. Why? One CD-rom disc costs a
buck. Big deal when it means life or death for your
Why take chances. Can anyone predict when you will have a
problem, a computer crash, a new virus? Of course not.
Don't live dangerously, this isn't a thrill ride, it's
your life, your business life!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Top 10 tips for Safe Internet Shopping

Over £5 billion pounds was spent on online shopping in 2004. The Internet was the fastest growing retail sector last year, attracting one in four shoppers. The growth rate for the online market was 27.4 per cent, six times better than for the traditional retail market. This looks set to rise as more and more people look for more convenient ways of shopping. It’s easy to search for a product and then purchase it – all at the click of a button and from the comfort of your home. You have a fun time shopping, browsing, reading and gathering information about products, and you don't have to take time out from your busy schedule to fight traffic, crowds and queues to buy the perfect gift for your recipient.
But how can you ensure you are shopping safely? Brad Bagherian, Managing Director, at Elaborations Ltd, a web design company in Amersham, has put together the following tips for safe surfing:
1. Take your time
Take your time when purchasing online since high pressure sales tactics, just like in the real world, often indicate possible frauds. Ensure the site is easy to use, designed well and looks professional. An amateur’s site will often look cluttered.
If you are in doubt, stop the transaction. You can stop the transaction anytime before pressing the Pay and / or Confirm button that sends your order off to the business.
2. Look for Contact Details
You may think all online shops will have their contact details on their website. You might be surprised to find that some do not provide their details, no email address and no phone number. This is a sure red flag. Reputable online shops will always provide concise contact information, this includes a physical address and a phone number. If you are suspicious trust your gut feelings. Do not buy online if you are unsure that the shop is real.
3. Consider all costs before purchasing
Shop around and compare prices before buying. When you calculate the cost of a product make sure that you take into account of the delivery charge and the VAT – these are often not included in the overall price. Also make sure what you're buying is not subject to any import restrictions.
4. Check the Returns Policy
Most reputable online shops offer strong guarantees and stand behind their products. Check the Returns Policy before you proceed to the checkout. Things you should take particular note of are; what happens if the goods are damaged or faulty, who should pay the postage costs for the return of an unwanted item and how many days you have to return an unwanted item. Online shopping surpasses the physical shops in convenience, but there is a disadvantage of being unable to physically touch the products, so the greater the refund policy period the better. If there is no refund policy, the best advice is to stay away.
Plus don't forget that under the Distance Selling Regulations, you do have a seven-day-cooling-off period in case you change your mind. For further information on Distance Selling Regulations see
5. Check Delivery Options
Find out when they will be delivering and whether you can choose the delivery date and time. Make sure the address you provide for delivery will have someone available who can sign for the package when it arrives.
Various delivery options may incur extra costs. For example, faster delivery, registered post and weekend delivery may cost extra. So if you don’t want to be surprised when checking out, make sure you find out what their delivery terms are like.
6. Protect your Personal Information
Avoid giving out personal information that is not strictly necessary for a successful purchase.
Check the companies Privacy Policy (which is usually located at the bottom of the website) which tells you what they intend to do with your information. They should maintain your personal details in the strictest privacy and confidentiality according to the 1998 Data Protection Act.
7. Ensure the Transaction is Secure
Check whether the website complies with the industry’s security standards (SSL) which help prevent fraud and protect you by encrypting the personal information you send over the Internet during the transaction. This encryption means that a hacker will not be able to steal your credit card and personal information. You must ensure the following two measures are in place before you complete any transaction on the Internet
 Ensure a padlock image is present on the bottom right hand side of your browser
 Ensure the web address begins with “https”
8. Pay by Credit Card
This will give you added protection because your credit card issuer becomes jointly responsible for the goods that you buy. So if there is a problem that the company won’t resolve, the credit card company will assist you. While the problem is being investigated, you would not need to pay the credit card charge and if the company still doesn’t deliver or they are a scam, you’re in a much better position to claim your money back.
9. Keep a record of everything
Once you have made an online purchase, you will receive an email confirmation and an order reference number. Print these out and keep a note of any reference numbers provided during the transaction. It would also be useful to print out the details of the product or service you ordered. If there was a special offer on at the time, print out the web page with the offer on it. This will include vital information such as the web address, date and time it was printed. If you can not print out the information, then save the page in a folder on your PC for reference. These may be relevant if a dispute arises.
10. Know Your Rights
Online consumers have exactly the same rights as offline consumers. The goods should fit the product description and be as satisfactory as described online. If something goes wrong with your purchase, there are actions you can take with the shop, and your bank to fix the problem. For further information take a look at the Office of Fair Trading website.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Internet Shopping - How Safe Is It?

Millions of people make purchases online, but many people are still wary. They fear the unknown and have many doubts and questions about who they are dealing with. They are afraid of being scammed, and rightfully so. Online shopping can be a completely safe and rewarding experience provided you are dealing with a legitimate, reputable retailer. But how do you know if they are legitimate??? Here lies the "fear of the unknown."
Well, as with anything in life, there are precautions to take, questions you should ask yourself, and signs to look out for. Provided you are careful with who you decide to purchase from, online shopping can be a very convenient and pleasurable experience.
Important Safety Precautions:
Take a good look around the website. Make sure you read their Privacy Policy. A privacy policy let's you know the procedures and methods they have in place to secure your personal information. Find the answers to these questions...Do they share your information with others? Some companies sell or distribute your information to other companies. You may wind up on everybody's mailing list. Do they have security measures in place to protect your information (i.e. SSL)? SSL is the abbreviation for Secured Socket Layer. SSL is security software that encrypts information transmitted between browsers. What this means in layman's terms is that your personal information such as name, address, credit card number, etc. is coded or scrambled so that anyone who may try to intercept this information as it is transmitting cannot read it. But don't just rely on them telling you that their site is secure, check for yourself. You will know when you are in a secure browser by looking at the bottom browser bar on your computer (lower right). If the browser is secure, you will see a security lock image. Also check the web address in your top browser bar. Secure web addresses begin with "https" whereas, non-secure pages begin with "http."
Setting up accounts with online stores is quite common. However, many people are leery of this because they don't understand why it is sometimes necessary. Generally, the only information you are providing is your name, address, email address, and sometimes your phone number. This is all necessary information that the store needs in order to ship your order or contact you regarding your order. Setting up an account with the retailer usually provides you with additional such as tracking the status of your order. On the other hand, if the account set-up asks for more than just your basic contact information, then you may not want
to proceed. You should not be required to provide your social security number, bank account number, or birthdate. This information is much more personal and should not be necessary to have an order shipped.
Read the shipping and returns policies before making a purchase. Make sure you feel comfortable with them. Find answers to these questions...What is their shipping timeframe? Is it within a reasonable amount of time? Will they notify you if it will take longer than anticipated? What choices will you have then? Do they allow returns? Are there restrictions on what items you can return and explanations as to why? Do they make sense?
Don't make huge purchases right off the bat. Make a small, low cost purchase with the company and consider it a low-risk test of their credibility. This allows the retailer a chance to prove themselves worthy of your business, but limits the monetary risk you are taking. Should all go well, you can make a larger purchase in the future with peace of mind, now knowing that this is a legitimate business.
There are many advantages to purchasing online and as long as you are careful with who you choose to deal with you can reap the rewards.
Here are some of the benefits:
Convenience: Why fight the crowds in the stores, especially during the holidays, when you can sit at home on your computer and shop. And price comparisons are just a click away when shopping on the internet. There's no need to fight traffic running from store to store looking for the "best deal." You can have your purchase delivered to your doorstep within a few days.
Prices: Online retailers and storefronts purchase their products from the same manufacturers. However, an online retailer doesn't have the costly overhead that a storefront has (i.e. Lease payments on the building, heat and electric, just to name a few). Therefore, the online retailer doesn't have to markup the price as much as the storefront in order to make the same profit. So you, the consumer, come out the winner!
Store Hours: Online retailers are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Shop at your convenience.
So as long as you take some simple precautions, shopping online can be a very pleasurable, time saving and money saving experience.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Web and Computer Security

Well, if that would have been said to me by my father when I was 2 years of age, I would have understood. But when today, my own computer tells me that when I am 34, I wonder why I spent $1500 on my computer hardware and software just to enjoy the (un-realized) benefits of this great and revolutionary information technology?
Today’s cyberspace is hazardous. None of today’s PC users can claim that they never had a computer virus issue or a PC security breach. Now, if you count today’s number of PC users worldwide, they will soon be 1 billion by 2010 according to analysts. When I see all the computer viruses, infections, trojans, and what not around me, and compare it with the 1 billion innocent computer users around the world, I simply feel sorry not only for those billion users but for myself too. But again, as a common user myself, I must admit it was not all doomsday for the whole industry since 1987 when I started to use computers. So, as a responsible member of this great IT revolution, I must share some of the best tips and tricks that I learned to use to make the minimum room for productivity on my computer.
Please note this is a tutorial for someone who has basic know-how of computer usage. For those who are newbies, I would recommend asking a local expert’s help before trying anything out mentioned in this tutorial. In that case, make room for payment from deep pocket. For your own convenience, print this tutorial for step-by-step instructions.
Whenever my computer is infected, I act on any of the following options;
1. FORMAT HARD DISK: I back up all of my data on a CD-Writer if it is still accessible. And then format the whole hard disk drive and re-install each and every application.
2. USE SOFTWARE: I exhaust all anti-virus and other software options. This is usually my first priority as compared to formatting the whole computer hard disk drives.
Now, let me explain both options in detail;
PRE-REQUISITES: Make sure you have a CD-Drive (Writer), empty writable CDs, Windows OS CD (bootable) that contains files such as Format.exe, Scandisk.exe, FDisk.exe, and Attrib.exe files. Microsoft Office CD, Anti-Virus CD, GoldenHawk CD Writing Software in DOS (copy2cd.exe and cdtools.exe), Serial Numbers of your License, Driver CDs of Motherboard, VGA, Network, Sound and Modem devices. Optionally, download (using or these software from any Internet Café when your own computer is inaccessible and save it on a CD so that you can use it anytime for security purposes;
Golden Hawk DOS based CD Writing Software
HTech Fireman Windows based CD Writing Software
Driver Genius Pro
Partition Magic
AVG AntiVirus
SpywareBlaster & SpywareGuard
Spybot Search & Destroy
HiJackThis & CWShredder
I have intentionally avoided mention of many commercially good and more friendly software’s mention here as I wanted everything to do FREE without any additional costs apart from the usual OS licenses. For your own convenience, you can research Google or Yahoo search engines find further information about such commercial software and their availability / pricing.
I know it is painful and surgical type of solution, but sometimes, it is the ONLY solution left after exhausting all of our efforts to revive our computer machine after a virus attack. Follow this procedure;
Booting Up: Try booting your computer normally first and see if you can login easily. If you can’t or your computer hangs up, try holding F8 key when starting Windows and you will get the Safe Mode. Even if you don’t get the Safe Mode, don’t worry.
Power up your computer and press DEL key or F2 key to login your CMOS. In CMOS, go to Boot Preferences and make CD Drive as boot drive as your first boot drive and change the hard disk drive as the second boot drive. If you don’t see your CD Drive in the boot-up options, your CD Drive is not properly installed. Check the connectors or ask your CD Drive provider for instructions to install the CD Drive. Now, when your CD Drive is ready, insert your Windows OS CD in the CD Drive and restart your computer machine. When prompted, select the option “Boot from CD with CD Option”. When you get the prompt, Notice the CD Drive letter that was allocated to your CD Drive when it installed the CD Driver. It is usually D: drive or the last drive letter depending on the number of your partitions. Note it down as it is the actual drive letter where you will have to type a DOS command like d:
You should now be able to run all software utilities such as Format, Scandisk, FDisk or Windows Installation Setup.exe files. Right now, simply make sure they exist by typing a DOS command dir at the CD drive letter. If you don’t find it with this simple directory command, use dir/s filename to search the file. For example, to search fdisk.exe file, type dir/s fdisk.exe.
BACKING UP YOUR DATA: Before formatting your hard disk drive, please make sure you have proper back up of your critical data files such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc files on a CD or any other media for backup that you have access to. In this tutorial, we assume you have a CD-Writer installed for taking backups on Writeable CDs. Their capacity is usually 700MB or less. Here, you should seriously consider using Zipping software like WinZip or WinRAR.
VIA WINDOWS: If you can luckily login to your Windows OS, you should run the CD-Writer software such as HTech Fireman to back up all of your data on an empty CD. If you don’t know how to do it, read their user manual for detailed instruction set. If you can’t access your Windows OS, read on.
VIA DOS: Some of the files that you wish to make back-up, may be hidden. To un-hide them, use attrib *.* +r +s +h.
Now, use the software from Golden Hawk file named as copy2cd.exe to backup your data files or directories on a writeable CD. Before using this command, make sure you are in an appropriate path on the computer such as E:/ where the actual file copy2cd.exe file resides;
Copy2cd c:data*.* f:
Here we assumed that f: is a CD Writer drive. Now, repeat the same for all of your files to back up. When finished, run cdtools.exe command i.e. cdtools f: to finish by selecting option “Disc Finalization”.
If you can’t back up your data using the above-mentioned procedure, either ask an outside expert’s help personally or via internet. If all fails, forget your data forever and carry on installing a new OS as mentioned in this tutorial.
Backing up Your Drivers: An interesting tool to mentioned here is a software that automatically backs up all of your drivers of CD, modem, sound card, vga, usb, printer or just about anything that is currently installed on your system. But this software works only in an operational windows OS, and not in DOS. It is a good and time-saving practice to keep a backup of all of your drivers on a CD by using such a software. Its name is Driver Genius Pro and it is commercial software, not a freeware.
USING FDISK: You may skip this option and go straight to Formatting Hard Disk option, if you wish to use other useful partitions that may contain your data. Before going ahead with this option, Make sure there is no useful data left on your computer to be backed up. This option will delete all of the computer partitions and create new ones.
i) Boot up your computer using Windows OS CD.
ii) Run this command
iii) Press option 3 to delete all current partitions.
iv) To create a new partition, select option 1 and select Y to answer the maximum size question by the program.
v) Next, select option 2
vi) Press Esc key to quit and restart your computer to
See the URL for detailed instructions alongwith screenshots. Now, that you have created the primary partition, you can continue to format the newly created partition. There is a very user-friendly but commercial software called Partition Magic by PowerQuest to manage your partitions easily after installation of Windows.
FORMATTING HARD DISK: Now that you have created new partitions, It is time to format them so that you can start installing Windows. This is how you make your C: drive usable by your Windows OS for installation. Boot up your computer with Windows CD and type format c: command at the prompt. When prompted for maximum size, press, YES. After complete processing you will be presented with the successful report about the formatting of the C: drive. Select your new drive name and press ENTER to finish.
INSTALLING WINDOWS: Microsoft has made it very easy for a newbie to install a completely new OS on a newly formatted partition. It is all wizard based and you simply have to click NEXT each time whenever asked a question. Boot up your computer from the Windows CD and select Start with CD Option. When on DOS prompt, change to the CD Drive that it just created which is usually d: if you have only one partition C. Now type command setup.exe to start the windows installation process.
During installation, make sure you properly name your PC as per your preferences and select your regions and Time zone. When finished, the computer will re-boot and during next re-boot it may ask some drivers of your Sound Card, VGA, Network, or other devices attached. Provide the requisite driver CDs and locate the paths of the appropriate drivers. If you are not sure, leave it like that and press NEXT to ignore. When your windows installation is complete, you can install Microsoft Office, setup internet connection and start using it as normally as you would. Please make sure you install all the security software such as anti-virus, anti-spyware, adware, and other software as mentioned in the next section.
Installing Anti-Virus: Download free AVG Antivirus software and install it. Make sure you get its free key from their website by registering. This software is not auto-updated for critical viruses and for an auto-update version, you will have to pay. If you wish to pay, we would recommend world’s most popular brands Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micros instead. No matter what Anti-Virus software you install, make sure you enable its Auto-Protect feature for automatic protection of your computer’s resources and in-coming or out-going emails from any virus attack. Some software even allow you to setup silent detection and destruction without any disturbance to your work. Further, they are auto-updated via internet at the regular interval that you setup. Hence, you can rest assured that whenever a security threat is spread all over the world, your software will automatically download the requisite updated version and install its defense on your computer.
BROWSER SECURITY: To setup your browser (Internet Explorer on Windows) for maximum security against the usual threats, follow this procedure;
i) Start up your browser
ii) Go to IE > Tools > Windows Update > Product Updates, and selected Security Updates to be automatically updated. Microsoft releases patches and security patches from time to time to make sure your system's security is up-to-date.
iii) Now, go to Internet Options/Security/Internet, press 'default level', then OK. Now press "Custom Level." In the ActiveX section, set the first two options ("Download signed and unsigned ActiveX controls) to 'prompt', and 'Initialize and Script ActiveX controls not marked as safe" to 'disable'. Now you will be asked whether you want ActiveX objects to be executed and whether you want software to be installed. Sites that you know for sure are above suspicion can be moved to the Trusted Zone in Internet Option/security.
If you use another browser such as Firefox or Netscape, see their documentation on how to securely set it up against any such internet threats.
Installing Anti-Spyware: Spyware, adware, browser hijackers, and dialers are some of the fastest-growing threats on the Internet today. By simply browsing to a web page, your computer may become a victim. You can install SpywareBlaster and SpywareGuard to effectively guard your computer from such internet threats.
It includes Fast Real-Time Scanning engine for known spyware and heuristic/generic detection capabilities to catch new / mutated spyware and Download Protection along with Browser Hijacking Protection in real-time.
Simply download the software (free) from their website and install it on your system. Make sure you download its latest update too or enable its Auto-Update feature to be updated automatically in the background. Now, when you are ready, run the software to check the spyware on your computer. When spyware are found, it reports accordingly. Press "select all", then press option "kill all checked". Although it won't protect you from 100% spyware, But it is a very important extra layer of protection.
Next, install another software that is called Spybot Search & Destroy. It works exactly like SpywareBlaster, but it never hurts to have a double layer of spyware detection alongwith Spybot R&D.
Installing Anti-Adware: Adware is a common term used to describe potentially dangerous websites and scripts that do data-mining, aggressive advertising, Parasites, Scumware, selected traditional Trojans, Dialers, Malware, Browser hijackers, and tracking components. There is a very good software called Ad-Aware available to scan and remove such nuisances from your system.
To start using it, simply visit Lavasoft USA website and download its free non-commercial version of Ad-Aware Personal Edition. Run its setup program and install it. When prompted, ask it to scan your computer. If there are any adware found, it is detected and removed automatically by Ad-Aware. Run this software on a weekly or daily basis, if possible to keep your system clean.
In addition to the Ad-Aware, Internet Explorer comes with a very handy tool that allows you to block specific sites that may carry well-known advertisers, marketers, crapware pushers to the Restricted sites Zone. If you had to input 50000+ of such sites manually yourself, it would takes years. Luckily, there is a software that does it all automatically and it is called IE-SPYAD. Once you merge this list of sites and domains into the Registry, the web sites for these companies will not be able to use cookies, ActiveX controls, Java applets, or scripting to compromise your privacy or your PC while you surf the Net. Nor will they be able to use your browser to push unwanted pop-ups, cookies, or auto-installing programs on your PC. It is not an ad blocker. It will stop top unwanted crapware from being installed behind your back via "drive-by-downloads"; prevent the hijacking of your home page.
This Restricted sites list is based in part on info from: discussions in the SpywareInfo Forums and other forums that specialize in crapware removal major crapware reference sites: doxdesk,,, PestPatrol and SpywareGuide.
To start using it, simply download it from their website and run its install.bat file. Make sure you run its update as well soon after its installation.
INSTALLING FIREWALL: A firewall software acts as a defense shield against hackers, intruders, and blocks access attempts to your computer. ZoneAlarm is a professional firewall software that works in a stealth mode automatically and makes your computer invisible to anyone on the Internet.
Download it from ZoneLabs website and run its setup for installation. I recommend you use its Express Settings which automatically configures your most commonly used software like browser, chat messengers, ftp software to access internet, while blocks every other internet traffic in real-time. If any software or service tries to upload or download any data, it pops up an alert whereby you can allow or disallow such internet traffic.
Computer Slow Down: It is very common to see many complaining about their computer slow-down. The fastest and easiest cure is using Windows’ built-in Defragmenter utitlity that you can find in Startà Programs à Accessories à System Utitlities à Disk Defragmantor and run thorough defragmantation. It will take a while before it ends.
If your system’s performance does not improve after running defragmantation utility, consider scanning your computer via a software utility called HiJackThis which you can download and install on your system. Use this tool carefully as it is intended for advanced users only. HijackThis is a tool, that lists all installed browser add-on, buttons, startup items and allows you to inspect, and optionally remove selected items. The program can create a backup of your original settings and also ignore selected items. Additional features include a simple list of all startup items, default start page, online updates and more.
CWShredder is a utility for removing CoolWebSearch (aka CoolWwwSearch, YouFindAll, and a dozen other names). This tool will find and destroy all traces of the CoolWebSearch (CWS) hijacker on your system including redirections, IE slowdowns, start page changes, un-authorized addition of sites in IE Trusted Zone, and blocking access to IE options or setup.
Download CWShredder from their official website only as there is a similar named virus/trojan on the loose at various websites which you may accidently download and install, hence become more infected than being cured instead. When it is installed successfully, run the software to scan your local machine. Select the fix button & it will get rid of everything related to CoolWebSearch. Close ALL other programs & windows, including IE, before running CWShredder. Reboot after doing this.
I know there is still a lot left, but as I wanted to keep this tutorial as brief as possible, hence I covered only the critical elements here. I am sure you will have fewer breakdowns (if not ZERO0 and more productive hours on your computer. I would recommend you to setup all the software’s auto update and auto-check options to free your time for more productive things than just playing hide and seek with spywares, adwares or viruses. Happy and safe computing!
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