Contrary to the popular belief, hackers do not just hack into your web site, they want your computer also. Once they have your computer, then they mess with your web site(s), ( as mine has been hacked. ) It is almost a Buck Rogers ( Lost in Space ) kind of deal.. ( Trust me, I have done my homework on this subject.. )
A person sitting in Siberia can hack into your computer and use it just like he was sitting where you are now.
It is a HUGE PROBLEM, so huge the F.B.I. are involved. The Feds say that as this deal in the middle east heats up, so will the attacks on American's computers. They say this is just the tip of the iceburg and a whole new chapter in the book of , Terrorisim.
And now, back to Siberia.. Once in your computer, the hackers can watch everything you do on your computer.. anytime, anywhere. They can look at your address books(s) Read your e-mail(s) as well as send e-mail from your account, which is what they do.. Once they are in your computer they have ALL of your passwords for ALL of your accounts.
My sister's friend was hacked and they used her e-mail address to send pornographic spam to zillions of folks.. it caused her tons of grief... People were plenty pissed.
But this is just a small example the real problem. If you buy anything and use a credit card, or have you ever used one of those Internet - phone programs? I have.. I'm guilty. And, ( like I have mentioned in a past article, ) names and addresses are worth bucks. Phone numbers are just icing on the cake.. Pretty soon they have your calling card number and pin and out of the blue you have a bill for a grand or more.
And if you have an E - Store and you accept credit cards, or maybe you use your card online.. you may be compromising more than you think.
The danger is real.. It is NOT a joke or Urban Legend.
If you are like me, you learned how to use your computer.. by yourself. Spending hours, surfing the web. But, ( also like me ) you have seen different icons on your computer screen.. Some that you know what they are for and some you don't. And because you don't.... you leave them alone.
Lesson One Get connected to the internet.
Left click on your, " Start Button. "
You will now see a toolbar. Look towards the top and locate the, " Windows Update, " icon.. do ya see it ? Click on it, please.
Now you will see a website called,
" Microsoft Windows Update ".
Over on the left hand corner you will see... a box called, " Product Updates " click on this.
You will now see a pop - up box that sez something to the effect, " Checking your computer for current updates.. " Just hang out and wait for it to finish.
Once it is finished you will see a new screen with several options.. Don't worry about any of the others right now, and find the bar that sez, " Show Installed Updates. " Got it ? Click on it.
Now it will give you a list of security patch updates and to the left of each item is a, " Check Box. "
If none are checked in the first list, ( CRITICAL UPDATES ) stop right now and locate the, " Download " arrow at the top of the page. This will download all of the current security updates, ( don't worry, it is all free. )
It's a pretty good idea to check your security patches at least once a week... Just to make sure you are up to date.
Another, real easy step you can take to add some extra security, free and easy.
Internet Explorer :
On your toolbar at the top of your screen find the, " Tools, " and click it.
Next, click on the, " Internet Options. "
Now you see a box with, six option tags.. Find the one that sez, " Security, " and click it.
You now have a box with, four options..
" Internet, " choose, " Medium.
" Next " Local Internet, " choose, " Medium.
" Next " Trusted Sites, " choose, " Medium.
" Next " Restricted Sites, " choose, " Medium. "
Of course you can set them to whatever you want but if you set them to light.. it could be bad news for you. But, on the other hand, you set them to high... Things won't work right. Disabling the cookies sounds like a good option but it really isn't, ( trust me. ) It is such a pain in the butt it's best just to set everything to medium.
" We Americans are funny creatures of habit. And one of those habits is the mistaken idea that we don't need to read instructions.
In the case of, computer software.. most of us have no idea that we should take a look at the, " Read Me " files for installation instructions, ( 9 times out of 10 you can find them here. ) In the read me file, you will find instructions for configuration and trouble shooting.
But, for some unknown reason, we think that we know it all, when it comes to installing software. We assume that it is all set up and configured for us and so, we never read a lick of directions.
If your car goes on the fritz, you don't try to fix it yourself.. you take it to the auto mechanic.
If you have a toothache you go to the dentist to have it pulled, you don't use the vise - grips and pull it yourself.. ( although, one time I did use the vice - grips and didn't go to the dentist until it wouldn't stop bleeding and I DON'T RECOMEND it as a recreational pastime to any of you. )
Sometimes your lack of reading about the product you are down loading can lead to embarrassment, ( or even a potential lawsuit ) somewhere down the road. "
" Read the Instructions "
I want to talk a little about fire walls..and software installation. As little as one year ago a personal fire wall didn't exist. The only ones around were in use by corporations, to keep the employees from compromising the networks and users like you and I didn't have a need for that sort of thing. Who would have thought some snot - nosed - punk would want to crack your computer, trash your web sites and cause you untold embarrassment using your e-mail to send pornographic spam, all over the world. Who would have thought ?
And so the, Personal Fire wall was born....
I stumbled onto the subject of hackers in a copy of Yahoo Magazine© .. did some research on the subject and wrote an article about it, ( see, " Cookies Tipz. " ) The subject of the article was about cookies and hackers, what they do and what you can do to stop it.. I should have thought about the hysteria that was to follow a little better I suppose.. I just didn't expect my article to cause the paranoia amongst some readers, like it did. Before I wrote the article, I had downloaded and was testing the free version of Zone Alarm and it really seemed to be doing something.. I didn't know quite what, ( for an explanation of this phenomenon.. see the above reference for, not reading the read me files. ) but, by golly.. something was going on. Red lights flashing.. green lights too. Alerts every few minutes.
It was infectious.. A few of my readers jumped on the band wagon also, after getting the skinny from my article.
I bought BlackICE Defender© .. and I assumed that all you had to do was install it and it was good to go. No sooner had I installed it my computer was seeming to be banged, a lot, from intruders, attacked at every angle. I was getting them at my Juno mail. I was getting them while talking to friends on the I.C.Q© . Never at one time did I afford myself the luxury of opening the read me file to see what might be up....... Never that is until this one time while I was messaging another friend, I noticed that every time this other person sent me a message the BlackICE© thingamyjig would start flashing telling me I had been... probed, ( Zone Alarm didn't say a thing. ) So I looked at the I.P. address and it said, XX.XXX.XXX.39IntrentServiceProvider... and I was thinking that it sounded familiar somehow and then it dawned on me..! The BlackICE© was seeing this friend as an intruder... Ha - Ha !
Now I'm thinking, " RichDs, do you suppose that many of these alerts you receive, are really just friends of yours coming to call ? " And so I do the first smart move in awhile and open the read me file and find that I need to put all of my compadres I.P. numbers into the, " Friendly " data - base and sure enough I quit getting banged as much. I mentioned it to this friend and we had a good laugh about it and I forgot about the whole deal until........
A week or so later, one of my on-line friends approached me and told me they thought there was a hacker in our mist and they knew who it was.. and would I please get on the I.C.Q. and talk about it with them..?
" Sure, sez me.. " and off I went. Once in the I.C.Q.© I ask them who they thought the hacker was..?
They send me this I.P. number with a location of Seattle Wa., ... and I'm looking at it and ask them if the hacker was in Seattle..? And so they lay it on me. " RichDs, isn't that you....! " They went on to say....." I mean every time you come into chat or the I.C.Q.© this number comes up.."
So, I'm sitting here thinking about it.. and I ask them what they were trying to say.. did they think I was hacking them !? They then pointed out to me that I did live in Washington State, around the Seattle area and it sure looked suspicious to them.
I'm stunned.... I'm sitting here with the realization that They thought I was a hacker... And then they went on to tell me there was another number that banged them quite often.. ( XX.XXX.XXX.39InternetServiceProvider ) so often in fact they decided it was a real threat and turned us both in to the BlackICE© data base for being a hacker........
Imagine their surprise when I told them of their mistake... ( and a pretty large one at that. ) All they had to do was open the read me file, and they would have been able to see what was what, before they accused. It taught me a lesson and when I got the computer back from the shop, and as I was re - installing all of my security stuff, ( 2 virus protectors, 2 personal fire walls, 1 program that is supposed to keep the hackers from being able to manipulate my computer's pipes and 1 program that keeps the hackers from coming in the backdoor. ) I sat down and read EVERY read me file for EVERYTHING involved... and got it all configured right, the first time around.