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Protect Yourself and Others - Spim, Spam and Spyware
Here are some tips for avoiding spam, spim and spyware.
Definitions of Spam, Spim, and Spyware
- Obvious spam: That gunk that clogs your e-mail's inbox.
- Phishing: Spam that will try to extract personally identifiable information from you such as a login and password or an account number.
- Spim: The gunk that clogs your instant messaging service.
- Spyware: The gunk you pick up when you browse the Internet. It can cause identity theft and cause your computer to run in a slow state.
Key Tips to Avoid Spam and Spim
- Don't reply to spam or click on its "unsubscribe" link. This tells them they have a valid e-mail address.
- Disable the preview pane in your e-mail client.
- Use one e-mail address for family and friends, one for business, and another for everyone else.
- Don't post your e-mail address in its normal form on a publicly accessible Web page.
- Don't open the message if you don't know who it's from: delete it.
- Keep your anti virus software current and up to date with patches.
- Be careful of downloading pictures and other things your IM friends may send you. Check with them first to make sure they have sent you something.
Six Ways to Outwit ID Thieves "Phishers"
- Never directly respond to an e-mail asking for personal information such as log in name and password.
- If you doubt the authenticity of a message, verify it by contacting the sender. Send a separate e-mail or call the sender.
- Avoid spoofed sites by entering the Web address directly into your browser's address bar or by using bookmarks you create.
- Make sure the Web site is secure; look for a lock that is in a closed position; it can be found in bottom right of your monitor's screen.
- The URL address bar should start with www.XXXXX.XXX. This states the Web site is using and encryption method to protect the data on the Web site and the data entered into the Web site.
- Forward fraudulent spam to the Federal Trade Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org and the Anti-Phishing Working Group at email@example.com. Or, you can send the information to this e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Spyware: What is it?
- Primarily used for gathering demographic information.
- Often piggybacks on "innocent" downloads of software from websites bundled with "free" stuff.
- Can be used for fraudulent purposes.
- Can control browser's home page, pop-up ads, redirect you to different Web sites.
- Can slow computer's performance and cause system and software crashes.
Avoiding Sneaky Spyware
- Download and install software only from trusted sources.
- When installing software, read the End User License Agreement (EULA) .
- Adjust your Web browser security settings. Keep at medium or higher to block unauthorized downloads and prevent Web pages from automatically running Windows active scripts.
- Set your Web Browser to surf in "Private" mode by clicking "Ctrl - Alt - P." Setting this will prevent "stuff" from being downloaded to your computer without your permission or knowledge.
- Install and use updated anti-spyware software to scan your hard drive regularly.