Archive for the 'Firewalls' Category

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Spammer In The Slammer

Congratulations Less spam for Everyone

Yesterday the infamous spammer Robert Alan Soloway was arrested on charges in connection with his flagrant Spamming business.


According to USA Today, Soloway was responsible for sending tens of billions of emails each day ranking him with the top ten most spammers in the world. Now arrested for a 35-count indictment including mail fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, e-mail fraud, and money laundering. Law officials have now seized bank accounts and property in the thousands. Prosecutors will still move to confiscate $773,000 made from his business.

Many people hope this arrest will send a message to would-be spammers about the legal danger their profession is placing them in. It is certainly a great step in lowering the amount of emails we get to check our PayPal account’s status, for email accounts you don’t have PayPal accounts on. Many people speculat

e that this arrest will lower the amount of spam we get in our inboxes. This may be true for a while, but I myself haven’t seen a change since his arrest in the amount of spam in my box. If anything I would say that I have had more, but spam like this has become a big business. It is not backed by organized crime with people ready to steal identities any chance they can get. If anything this arrest will probably only change the spammers ways at best.

Let me know if you have seen less spam lately with a comment.

Idenity Theft

Idenity Theft (Identity)
Amazingly enough in this world of security fanatics we can’t stop one of the worst crimes ever to hit the nation. Idenity theft is one of the worst crimes for the individual victimized and the businesses compromised. It has taken over the nation and compromised our way of living long enough. I think more needs to be done to secure up peoples lives and credit history for this US nation to progress.

Idenity theft happens in many ways. The most common is for a thief to steel your wallet or purse.

If you are keeping too much information in your wallet then you may never get your identity back totally. It might be sold to a hundred people that use it whenever they get a chance. Common things that should not be in your wallet are: Social Security Card, Birth Certificate, Tax and Financial information, and Credit Card Pins. Do not keep these in your possession unless you have to. They contain information that a thief can use to obtain fraudulent credit, drivers licenses, and even a Social Security Card in your name. They can then walk into your bank with the false ID and empty your bank account, write checks, and even take out a loan on your house. They will walk away with your money and will leave you with the bill and your credit rating in destruction.

The best thing to do is not to put yourself at risk for thieves. Don’t take ID that you don’t need. Shred unneeded documents that contain your Social Security number, Birth dates, Mother’s Maiden name, and other financial info. Make it hard for a thief to steel your idenity and they will look for someone else who will be an easier target. In this world a little bit of paranoia is essential. Ask why people need information about you. Only give information that is required for applications. It will save you a lot of trouble in the long run because you will not have to hunt down a person that posses as you messing up your credit wherever they can.

My wife and I have had several letters from companies lately that have been hacked and computers stolen with our information possibly compromised. It can happen to anyone so check your credit report often and make sure all the accounts are valid and current. Here is a link to the website to check your credit report once a year for free. There are other websites that charge for this free service so here is a link to the real one.

Enjoy and let me know what you think with a post or email.

Watch Idenity Theft Video.

More info on Idenity Theft and F.T.C. link.

What things can a firewall do?

A firewall can prevent any communication from getting to your computer including information that you may want to receive like web pages or e-mails from someone else. You could use a firewall to prevent everything from getting through to your computer and only accomplish the same thing as unplugging your computer from the internet or computer network.

Firewalls are not made to do this, but rather make sure that you keep control of the kind of communication you want your computer to send and receive. This control can help prevent viruses and spyware that do not communicate through the doors that you have left open. They cannot do anything about the communication that passes through those open channels however, so spyware and virus scanners are still critical for protection of the open doors on your computer at all times.

Firewalls are also a security measure taken by nearly all corporate and secure local networks to keep unauthorized people away from confidential data and computer resources. Any computer on the internet without a firewall is wide open for any outside person to attack. These attacks may even take the form of an individual that just wants to see how many computers they can hack into and destroy. The argument that “there is nothing that anyone would want to see on my computer” may be true, but that does not mean that someone won’t do harm to your computer while they are there. This computer hacking is like a hunting sport to computer hackers and your computer is the targeted game.

What is a computer firewall and how does it work?

Firewalls are a software program that monitors the communication on a computer network and/or via the internet and blocks unwanted information from being transmitted on certain channels (port numbers) to the user’s computer.

Firewalls do this similar to the way a person may block certain cable channels from being available to their kids. The communication is still there in the cable but it is not able to get through to the computer or television. Another way to think of it is having multiple doors on your computer that you can lock and unlock. If you leave too many doors open to your computer something or someone unwanted can get in a lot more easily and then cause problems. Firewalls close those doors and make sure that only authorized communication goes on between computers and on the internet.

How to prevent computer viruses from infecting a computer?

Most viruses are very preventable by an up-to-date virus scanner. A virus scanner must be up-to-date because it can only scan for the viruses that it knows how to find and remove. Therefore, an out-of-date virus scanner is just a slight step above having no virus scanner at all. New viruses are created all the time and if the virus scanner is not regularly updated then it is very likely that the new virus will slip right past your defenses.

In order to be secure you need an up-to-date virus scanner constantly running on your computer that scans all of the files coming into the computer from the internet and e-mail for any signs of virus. If one is found then it is blocked, quarantined (placed in a special place on the hard drive where it can not do anything), or deleted, and then the computer user is notified of the potential attack. Firewalls can also help prevent some viruses from getting on your computer. They can do this by blocking communication channels between your computer and others which are unnecessary for the computer to receive information from. More will be discussed regarding firewalls later.

Prevent spyware from getting on my computer?

The first rule with preventing spyware is not to click on popup ads. If you click them they will multiply and the marketing companies will begin to see you as an easy target for advertising. The act of clicking on popup ads shows that you are an interested audience that will buy almost anything.

A word of caution about spyware and popup ads is that there are companies and people that make their living by putting popup ads on your computer that have sayings like “You have spyware on your computer!!! Click here to remove it.” Ignore these popup ads like you should any other because that is all they are: popup ads. These ads are created by spyware popping ads up on your screen to sell you things. So of course you have spyware on your computer, they put it there. The only difference is this time the spyware removal company has put the spyware there and they want you to buy their program to fix the very spyware that they placed on your computer. This is an underhanded way to make money off of uneducated victims. If you do go ahead and purchase the program it will probably fix the supposed problem they have created until it comes time for them to try to sell you other things.

Some other gimmicks like this are programs sold by companies to help speed up your computer because the spyware put on your computer by the same company is slowing it down so much. Popup ads are not supposed to be on your computer in the first place so if they are there then something must be wrong and spyware needs to be removed and the damage fixed. The best thing is not to trust or click on any popup ads on your computer but to remove the cause of the problem with Spybot or Adaware. Just click the gray X in the top right corner of the advertising window and forget about it, no matter how enticing the deal seems.

The next rule is to avoid downloading free screensavers or other programs that are not trusted or tested by computer technicians. The saying is true for the internet as well as in life that there is no such thing as a free lunch because a lot of these free programs on the internet install spyware on your computer without you ever knowing it when you install these free programs on your computer. These free programs are doing a lot more than what you want them to do on your computer and once on your computer they can not be prevented from collecting personal data about you or showing you hundreds of popup ads.

What does spyware do to your computer?

Spyware’s main purposes are to collect information about where you surf on the internet and what kind of things you buy online, and to display popup ads in response to the clicks of your mouse. These little annoyances are enough by themselves but spyware can cause much greater havoc than that. This havoc comes from the kind of people that write the programs that collect the information and display the popup ads. They are people that don’t ever see your pain and frustration as ad after ad keep popping up as long as you keep clicking on them.

Where does spyware come from?

Spyware comes from the internet and/or programs that are downloaded from the internet. Before people began putting computers on the internet spyware was not even thought of, but now that there are millions of computers on the internet talking to each other it is becoming a huge problem. Some might say that these programs cause more damage and problems than computer viruses, which until recently were considered to be the biggest problem since the internet began.

To understand where spyware comes from you have to know who makes it. There are computer programmers in the world that make their living by tracking where you go, what you do on the internet, what websites you visit, and how long you look at a page. Even sensitive personal information such as your birth date and social security number are not above what some of these programmers will collect to make money. Most of the computer programmers who create and use spyware programs to track your internet use sell this information to marketing companies and others that want to advertise to you if you are interested in the items they are selling.