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  1. #1
    iNET Interactive
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    Windows Secrets personal security baseline





    TOP STORY
    Windows Secrets personal security baseline


    By Jan Bultmann

    Frequent Internet users get mixed messages about data privacy.

    We worry about data miners and identity theft but put our life stories up on Facebook. Here are some basic steps to enhance your personal security.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2011/03/03/03 (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
    New Lounger
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    options for security questions

    One option is simply to provide an incorrect response that you can remember. For your mother's maiden name, for example, use "Obama" or anything else that you can easily remember. The site simply wants the same response and doesn't care whether it is accurate.

  3. #3
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    Email scams

    You mentioned this in your article, but I believe it's so common and so dangerous that it merits an article all to itself.

    Sometimes I get an email from a friend or relative. It looks legit after all, it's from a known source. Most of the time it contains a spam link to a web site selling something. Not pleasant but harmless. Other times it contains an executable file or a link to a more dangerous malware injecting website. Is it really from my friend? No, somehow their webmail address book or email client was hacked and emails are sent out to all in the address book by the hackers. In the case of an email client hack, it means that ther is a malware program running on their computer sending it out. In the case of web mail it could a couple of things: The hacker is logged on to your web mail account and sending out spam or malware wit it; or the hacker simply copied your address book and is sending out emails to your contacts in your name.

    In the case of the email client hack, do a good virus scan, using an online (malware often compromises your email program) virus scanner from one of the reputable anti-virus companies (Google online virus scanner. I don't want to promote one over the other, the top 5 choices are all good).

    In the case of web mail log on, change your passwords and security questions.

    As for prevention, never open an executable file from an email unless you've communicated by phone or a separate email that they are sending you this file. The same to a lesser degree goes for links.

  4. #4
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    Well these are all usfull things however on a windows machine you should never be doing monitary transactions inside windows itself; use a sandbox and an alternative OS on a CD or DVD as all session information dies with no trace when you close the sandbox and reboot into windows.

  5. #5
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    I just wanted to say that Today I discover this site and am glad to read the first thing is about security. Thanks for the the great suggestions about what TO do, not just what not to do. I have been telling my friends for YEARS NOT to mass mail me their notes to me. I see everyone's addy and if I wasn't so scrupulous, I could...anyway that one might be worth rementioning. I know you have done before probably. K
    Last edited by Kathrine; 2011-03-03 at 11:26.

  6. #6
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    I do that all the time. Favorite team is a great question because many to chose from, doesn't HAVE to be a fav, or a hated one for that matter. k

  7. #7
    2 Star Lounger
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    The "criminal networks" the article talks about are American corporations. 15 years ago a friend needed a list of potential customers for a small business. He said the information kept on individuals by private companies was astonishing...they could, for example, provide full info on people who picked up the phone for telemarketing calls. Imagine what they keep on us now. You give away far more personal info by using supermarket discount cards and buying everything with a credit card than you do online.

  8. #8
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    I like notoscar's suggestion of using nonsense answers for security questions; I take it a step further. I use the same nonsense word composed of letters and numbers as the answer to every security question. I've never found a site that would not accept my answer.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by notoscar View Post
    One option is simply to provide an incorrect response that you can remember. For your mother's maiden name, for example, use "Obama" or anything else that you can easily remember. The site simply wants the same response and doesn't care whether it is accurate.
    Roger that. My grandma used to use the answer chocolatecake for every one of those. She had a good sense of humour.

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    These are very common things people do with their laptops. Just because you do not do them does not mean they don't get done millions of times each day. Some of these articles are meant for and read by the masses who do not, and who do not know how to secure their laptops, and who do not have internet access at home, and who do not use secure passwaords, etc, etc, etc.
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  11. #11
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    I would also like to gently remind new members that in this community, we prefer to refrain from tossing out personal insults to anyone -- members or editors.

    If you are a paying subscriber to the Newsletter, this week there is a Reader Survey in which you can express a preference for or against certain newsletter content.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2011-03-04 at 05:48.
    -- Bob Primak --

  12. #12
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    The offending post answered by post 10 and post 11 was removed from this thread.

  13. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Deadeye81 For This Useful Post:

    bobprimak (2011-04-10),CLiNT (2011-03-05),dvhirst (2011-03-04)

  14. #13
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    A welcome, very useful article. I generally don't comment, but this one is right on the money; thanks. There were several suggestions above for further, more in depth articles; I would welcome the chance to read more in this subject area.

    Moderator: thanks for your careful stewardship of this resource!

  15. #14
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    Ten tips for data privacy - You left one out

    Let me tell you a story. A few weeks ago I got an e-mail from a company that said simply "Follow us on facebook <link>" Immediately bells went off, first the link in the e-mail and then the fact that I had no recollection of giving this company my e-mail address, in fact I could not even recall the name. I went online to look up the company and still could not recall any business I might have with them. I looked around the site for a privacy policy and found none.

    Another issue and the one I wanted to point out to your readers was that every person that got this e-mail was listed in the “TO” line of the e-mail, strangers all. I am sure that at least some of those people did not want me to know their e-mail address, I surely did not want them knowing mine. For cryin out loud, please stop this. If you must send e-mails to a bunch of people that have nothing in common other than knowing you use the BCC line.

    On with the story. On the web site was a phone number, which I promptly called. The person that answered assured me that he had no knowledge of anyone sending out such an e-mail and really didn’t see why I would object anyway. That sort of set me off onto a rant about privacy on the Internet (or lack thereof) but, he promised, he would look into it and call me back. The next call I got was in the form of a voice mail from someone else in the company to tell me that it was him that sent out the e-mail and he apologized for, as he put it, “um, whatever I did wrong”. Then another voice mail from the same guy “Um, hi, Joe again, I wanted to tell you that I remember now where I got your e-mail address, a few years ago I was at your sister’s house for a holiday gathering and met you there.” Oh damn (ok, not exactly what I said but you get the idea).

    The next call was from my brother-in-law that went something like this: I said “Hello”, he said “Whaderyou Nuts!!”. Things went downhill from there as he explained that this guy was one of his best clients (note I said “Was”). The next call was from Joe again, again apologizing and explaining that he was following the directions on his facebook page to improve visibility of his company. “I certainly didn’t want to do anything illegal” he says and that was not my original point but his e-mail may have been a violation of can-spam. My complaint, I explained was that he had inadvertently given more than 150 people I didn’t know my e-mail address and being a business address I really didn’t need to be getting more e-mails every day than I already did. The conversation, though strained and uncomfortable ended with both him and I apologizing to each other, me for getting him in trouble and him for blindly following the facebook instructions.

    The moral, for your readers, is Don’t send bulk e-mails using the TO field, use BCC, and the moral for me is don’t be such an a$$.

  16. #15
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    Notoscar.
    An excellent idea, but one needs to be certain the question has not been used previously on some other site. For example, wife's maiden name occurs frequently, but if you start giving an incorrect answer there will come a time when it's impossible to remember which sites are set up with the true answer and which with the alternative.

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