Protect Your PC

If you are new to the internet and perhaps personal computing, then you need to know how to protect your computer while you are surfin' the 'net. The best way to protect yourself from this threat is to run "spyware" removal software, and to keep your virus protection software definition files up to date.

Here are some terms that you should be familiar with:

Hacker - An unauthorized user who attempts to or gains access to a computer and the information it contains.

Firewall - Software or hardware or a combination of the two that prevents unrestricted access into or out of a computer/network.

Spyware - Secret code hidden in an otherwise harmless program. Spyware permits unauthorized access to a computer, allowing someone else to observe the user, read data, or even control the computer.

Adware - While not necessarily malware, Adware is considered to go beyond the reasonable advertising that one might expect from freeware or shareware. Typically a separate program that is installed at the same time as a shareware or similar program, Adware will usually continue to generate advertising even when the user is not running the originally desired program.

Viruses - A software program capable of reproducing itself and usually capable of causing great harm to files or other programs on the same computer; "a true virus cannot spread to another computer without human assistance"

Types of viruses:

File infectors - A block of code which attaches itself to another program and is able to copy itself into subsequent applications that you run.

Boot-sector viruses - Infect the area of the hard disk that are read and executed by the computer when it starts up.

Macro viruses - Macros are small programs that can be used to carry out tedious repetitive tasks. Macros run automatically when the file they are attached to is opened. Macro viruses spread much more rapidly than other forms of viruses as people frequently share data files.

Trojan horse - is a virus program that disguises itself as a benign application. Trojan horse viruses do not reproduce.

Worm: computer viruses that are designed to copy themselves from one computer to another over a network.

Spam - Spam is unsolicited e-mail. From the sender's point-of-view, it's a form of bulk mail, often to a list culled from subscribers to a Usenet discussion group or obtained by companies that specialize in creating e-mail distribution lists. To the receiver, it usually seems like junk e-mail. It's generally equivalent to unsolicited phone marketing calls except that the user pays for part of the message since everyone shares the cost of maintaining the Internet.

Phone Dialers - A small program that download and install themselves to your computer, often with no notification or permission of the user. Once installed, the program will use the modem which you use to connect to the Internet to make toll calls; often to overseas phone numbers. Any phone calls made by the computer will appear to Bell Canada as no different then if you made them.

Here are ways that a phone dialer could have been installed:

  • Using MSN Messenger
  • Using Kazaa to download
  • Using ICQ
  • Using other types of chat software
  • Not having your Windows service packs and security fixes up to date
  • Not having virus software installed and up to date
  • Downloading from unknown sites

None of these things are the responsibility of the bfree.on.ca. It is up to you to ensure that your software is kept current and all fixes and patches are applied to your computer. We recommend doing Windows update and version definition update at least once a week.

What you can do to try and track down the problem is run the following:

  • Ad-Aware - if you do not have it installed click here to download it
  • Spybot Search and Destroy - if you do not have it installed click here to download it
  • Run Windows update - windowsupdate.microsoft.com
  • For user with Window XP run Microsoft Antispyware Software - if you do not have it installed click here to download it
  • For user who do not have Windows XP you should use Spyblaster - if you do not have it installed click here to download it
  • Run your virus protection program

How does a computer become infected?

  • From an infected disk
  • By opening a file that is infected with a macro virus.
  • Through email attachments infected with macro viruses.
  • From hostile Java applets and ActiveX controls you unknowingly download when browsing the Internet.

None of these things are the responsibility of the bfree.on.ca.

How to protect you computer:

There are three easy ways to protect your computer:

  1. Use a firewall (built into Windows, third party, or a hardware router)
  2. Get software updates
  3. Use up to date virus protection and spyware/adware programs. Run these programs at least once a week and always update them prior to executing them.

Here are some additional ways to protect your computer:

  • Do not open email attachments, especially if you do not know the sender
  • Always scan your diskettes and files after using them on another computer.
  • Always scan all files you download from the Internet

How to protect your children while surfin' the 'net

  • Tell them to never give out identifying information such as your address, phone number, school name, town, etc. in chat rooms, forums, forms or questionnaires.
  • Never agree to meet anyone in person that you have met online.
  • Never reply to any email, chat messages, or forum items that make you feel uncomfortable.
  • Never send information or pictures to anyone over the Internet that you do not know.
  • Never give your password to anyone except your parents, no matter who they say they are.
  • Be aware that people may not be who they say they are. Someone who says she is a 10-year old girl may really be an older man.
  • Never click on links in emails from people you don't know.
  • Don't order anything or give anyone credit card information without your parent's permission.
  • Always tell your parents if someone upsets you or makes you uncomfortable.
  • Always follow your parents' rules regarding computer use