June 11, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Internet Security/Safe Surfing

Several years ago we took a family vacation to Mystic Ct. (worth going, if you’ve never been) I had an itch to use the computer in their so called “business office.” I launched Internet Explorer (which I personally don’t use but it was the only browser installed) and it opened to the last page visited. It was an online casino. When I first saw the poker tables and cartoon like characters sitting at the tables, I thought it was a fictitious game site. Then I realized that this site was a live interactive casino. Here I was, watching the dollar amounts of real people’s bank accounts change in real time as they won or lost their hand at the poker table. I logged the user off the website and took steps to clear any stored remnants of the site from the computer. Someone with lesser conscience could have cleaned this guy out.

So what should you do to protect yourself when using the Internet?

Here are some steps you can take to using the Internet more securely:

1. Limit the size of the browser Cache. Cache (pronounced cash) is basically a locally stored copy of any visited web pages. (Referred to in Internet Explorer as “temporary internet files”) One purpose for caching sites is so that subsequent visits to the same site appear to load faster because the browser is first loading it from cache. All browsers have a setting to limit the maximum storage capacity for caching web pages. If the storage capacity for browser cache is too large, the files can actually become corrupt and not load the webpage correctly or at all, among other issues. A cache storage size of 10 or 20mb is enough.

2. Always sign out of your session.  Many people enjoy the convenience of accessing a personal website site such as, email, bank site, auto pay site, insurance, etc. and not have to login every time they visit the site. Most sites offer users the option to keep them signed into the site so the next time they visit the site, it takes them past the sign in page directly to their main page. This convenience however, comes at a risk. Anyone who gains access to your computer, whether by malicious means, or physical access, now has easy and unobstructed, direct access to your account. The extra four seconds it takes to type in your site password is well worth the extra measure of security it provides. When you are done with the site, log off before closing the page.

3. One of the most common and still successful scams among internet thieves is called phishing. The scam is the practice of redirecting an unsuspecting user to a fake site in order to steal personal information. It can happen when checking out at a shopping website that has been compromised and the checkout page is a redirect to a phony website page. It has even happened at some bank sites where clicking on a link on the page surreptitiously redirects the user to a bogus site.

Some of these phished websites are nearly impossible for the untrained eye to detect and very difficult for even the experienced computer tech to discover. Install an internet security software (such as Norton internet security)that verifies the validity of the website. Make sure the product you choose has Browser Protection which proactively protects your computer by checking for and blocking online threats as your browser loads, to stop online threats before they can do damage.

Harold Nussbaum can be reached for technical support at: [email protected]

By Harold Nussbaum

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