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Letter from the Director Ask Emerson Best Buddies Spotlight e-Buddy of the Month Tech Corner

contentsTechnology Corner
December 2004

Safety Spotlight: Internet Security Tips

Internet security is quickly becoming a big issue for all of us who use the web on a regular basis. With hackers, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, and viruses all lurking out there, it is always a good idea to make sure that you take any steps possible to protect your computer and data.

For all you Windows users out there, a good starting point is to make sure that you ALWAYS keep up to date with the security patches available from Microsoft. To do so, visit http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/ and make sure to download all the critical updates for your computer. This will minimize the possibility that your computer will be vulnerable to “hijacking” (see http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A14264-2004Feb28.html for more about browser hijacking).

Also have an up-to-date anti-virus program installed on your computer. Always be sure to keep your virus definitions up to date – new viruses are being developed all the time, so you'll want to be sure that your computer is immunized from newer threats. For more information of getting an anti-virus for your computer, please visit www.mcafee.com or www.symantec.com .

If you do not have an anti-virus program on your computer, Trend Micro's House Call is a great online anti-virus program that will scan your computer over the Internet. The best part is that it's FREE! To scan your computer for free, please visit http://housecall.trendmicro.com/ .

A couple other quick hints:

Mozilla's Firefox Internet browser – The Mozilla group has just released a full version of their Firefox Internet browser. Firefox features a number of great features that Internet Explorer doesn't offer, but its biggest advantage is security. Firefox has built-in pop up blocking, and does not support Microsoft's Active X technology, which is often exploited by hackers as a means to hijack computers. To start browsing safer, please visit http://www.mozilla.org/ .

Lavasoft's Ad-Aware Personal Edition – Spyware refers to programming that installs itself on your computer during the course of regular Internet browsing. Most of the time, spyware is simply used to gather data about Internet browsing habits for marketing purposes. These programs can sometimes adversely affect the performance of your computer. Lavasoft's Ad-Aware is a great free utility that is designed to scan your computer for spyware and remove it. To download your copy for free, please visit http://www.lavasoft.de/ .

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Have an e-Buddies tech question? Send questions or comments to Bill Maurer at BillMaurer@bestbuddies.org .


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