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More on computer security

Posted by Nancy N on 7/23/01 at 08:03 (054007)

I just received a message from the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute. It discusses all sorts of issues such as viruses and hacker attacks that home computer users tend not to be aware of. It's all online, at what looks like an excellent site (I haven't had time to really look at it yet), and you can find it at http://www.cert.org/tech_tips/home_networks.html

It looks to me like it is really intended for home users who may not know a lot about security risks on the Internet, and should answer even the most basic questions--so please do take a look and see if there's anything you need to do in order to protect yourself online.

Re: More on computer security

Laurie R on 7/23/01 at 16:40 (054049)

Thank you again Nancy for this info .... I did not have time to read everything , but I did look at it. I am going to read it through..... A lot of good info ...Thanks again for letting us know about this site.

I was wondering what you thought about firewalls . I was reading that if you do have cable you should have a firewall ..What do you think????

Thanks you are so wonderful for sharing this with us..... Laurie R

Re: More on computer security

Nancy N on 7/23/01 at 19:07 (054054)

I think you should definitely have a firewall if you have a high-speed connection. I'm working on getting one, whenever I get my cable modem working. The reasons for one are all in that document--namely, that when you have a connection that's always on, you have one IP address, which means that it's easier for hackers to find you. (When you dial in, your address changes each time because you get it from the modem you connect with, but you don't have to do that with cable or DSL.)

It's not just that hackers can get into your files without a firewall, and access anything on your hard drive, it's also that they can use your computer to attack others without you even knowing about it. It's not a good scene either way--your computer should be under your control, not some anonymous hacker's. Until you get one, you can make a dent in the risk by turning off your computer when you're not using it.

Read the section of the document that covers firewalls--it's good. I didn't read the whole thing, but what I did read is excellent (and I was happy to see that they also advocate downloading file attachments and scanning them before opening them).

Re: More on computer security

Donna M on 7/23/01 at 19:09 (054055)

Yes thanks Nancy! As being a one year 'newbie' to computers, I need all the help I can get, since I only have 'experience' as my teacher!!
Donna

Re: More on computer security

Laurie R on 7/23/01 at 21:01 (054061)

Dear Nancy , Again thank you so much...I appreciate all you have done here .. I was going to send you a e-greeting ,but I thought maybe you would not open it ,it would of been an attachment. So I'm thanking you here ,not as fancy as a card ,But you know the thought was there.

Also thanks for the advise on the firewall ,I'm be looking into that now ..

Laurie R

Re: More on computer security

Nancy N on 7/23/01 at 21:38 (054065)

Laurie--

No problem. I'm not a programmer, so I can't explain the really detailed inner workings of this stuff, but I'm good at the big picture :) (As for e-greetings, most of them just provide a link to a website rather than an attachment, so they're still safe, especially from one of the bigger sites)

Definitely look into the firewall. It's really annoying that we need them, but more annoying to have people doing stuff to your computer without your permission.

Re: More on Cookies

john h on 7/24/01 at 09:13 (054111)

Today one of the lead editorals in major Arkansas paper was by Thomas Sowell. His article was devoted to 'Cookies' on the internet. He finally ended by saying that trying to turn them off drove him crazy so he gave up. Yesteday on one of our major talk radio shows the subject was computers and cookies. all this after we had our little cookie discussion a few days ago. Conincidence?

Re: More on Cookies

Nancy N on 7/24/01 at 11:00 (054124)

John--

Sowell's experience echoes mine. Every time I try to work on a computer where the cookies have been turned off, or set to ask you if you want to accept the cookie, it's nearly driven me mad (and as some of you know, that's not always a long trip for me!). So I have usually just ignored them and hoped for the best. I'm usually aware that it's been done, though, because any site that requires you to log on and offers to save your name and password does it through cookies. So when I log on to the New York Times site, there's a cookie that is working on my behalf. Not all of them are so obvious or generous, I'm sure, but until they come up with a better way to deal with cookies, it's looking like a 'grin and bear it' for me.

Re: More on Cookies

john h on 7/24/01 at 17:06 (054159)

yes nancy my cookie control shall forever remain in the 'on' position. if thomas sowell cannot get around it i sure cannot.

Re: More on Cookies

Richard, C.Ped on 7/25/01 at 10:37 (054272)

mmmm cookies. Oh sorry, got carried away.
Richard

Re: More on Cookies

Nancy N on 7/25/01 at 12:28 (054278)

Chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin? Or maybe snickerdoodles? :)

Re: More on computer security

Laurie R on 7/23/01 at 16:40 (054049)

Thank you again Nancy for this info .... I did not have time to read everything , but I did look at it. I am going to read it through..... A lot of good info ...Thanks again for letting us know about this site.

I was wondering what you thought about firewalls . I was reading that if you do have cable you should have a firewall ..What do you think????

Thanks you are so wonderful for sharing this with us..... Laurie R

Re: More on computer security

Nancy N on 7/23/01 at 19:07 (054054)

I think you should definitely have a firewall if you have a high-speed connection. I'm working on getting one, whenever I get my cable modem working. The reasons for one are all in that document--namely, that when you have a connection that's always on, you have one IP address, which means that it's easier for hackers to find you. (When you dial in, your address changes each time because you get it from the modem you connect with, but you don't have to do that with cable or DSL.)

It's not just that hackers can get into your files without a firewall, and access anything on your hard drive, it's also that they can use your computer to attack others without you even knowing about it. It's not a good scene either way--your computer should be under your control, not some anonymous hacker's. Until you get one, you can make a dent in the risk by turning off your computer when you're not using it.

Read the section of the document that covers firewalls--it's good. I didn't read the whole thing, but what I did read is excellent (and I was happy to see that they also advocate downloading file attachments and scanning them before opening them).

Re: More on computer security

Donna M on 7/23/01 at 19:09 (054055)

Yes thanks Nancy! As being a one year 'newbie' to computers, I need all the help I can get, since I only have 'experience' as my teacher!!
Donna

Re: More on computer security

Laurie R on 7/23/01 at 21:01 (054061)

Dear Nancy , Again thank you so much...I appreciate all you have done here .. I was going to send you a e-greeting ,but I thought maybe you would not open it ,it would of been an attachment. So I'm thanking you here ,not as fancy as a card ,But you know the thought was there.

Also thanks for the advise on the firewall ,I'm be looking into that now ..

Laurie R

Re: More on computer security

Nancy N on 7/23/01 at 21:38 (054065)

Laurie--

No problem. I'm not a programmer, so I can't explain the really detailed inner workings of this stuff, but I'm good at the big picture :) (As for e-greetings, most of them just provide a link to a website rather than an attachment, so they're still safe, especially from one of the bigger sites)

Definitely look into the firewall. It's really annoying that we need them, but more annoying to have people doing stuff to your computer without your permission.

Re: More on Cookies

john h on 7/24/01 at 09:13 (054111)

Today one of the lead editorals in major Arkansas paper was by Thomas Sowell. His article was devoted to 'Cookies' on the internet. He finally ended by saying that trying to turn them off drove him crazy so he gave up. Yesteday on one of our major talk radio shows the subject was computers and cookies. all this after we had our little cookie discussion a few days ago. Conincidence?

Re: More on Cookies

Nancy N on 7/24/01 at 11:00 (054124)

John--

Sowell's experience echoes mine. Every time I try to work on a computer where the cookies have been turned off, or set to ask you if you want to accept the cookie, it's nearly driven me mad (and as some of you know, that's not always a long trip for me!). So I have usually just ignored them and hoped for the best. I'm usually aware that it's been done, though, because any site that requires you to log on and offers to save your name and password does it through cookies. So when I log on to the New York Times site, there's a cookie that is working on my behalf. Not all of them are so obvious or generous, I'm sure, but until they come up with a better way to deal with cookies, it's looking like a 'grin and bear it' for me.

Re: More on Cookies

john h on 7/24/01 at 17:06 (054159)

yes nancy my cookie control shall forever remain in the 'on' position. if thomas sowell cannot get around it i sure cannot.

Re: More on Cookies

Richard, C.Ped on 7/25/01 at 10:37 (054272)

mmmm cookies. Oh sorry, got carried away.
Richard

Re: More on Cookies

Nancy N on 7/25/01 at 12:28 (054278)

Chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin? Or maybe snickerdoodles? :)