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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The User and the Internet

In today's world, internet technology is expanding. While most programs are "user-friendly", some of the most familiar ones employed, are not.  Like browsers. My first complaint is that you have to "learn" how to negotiate any browser, with is own pecular settings, etc.  Chrome, for instance, except for periodic crashing,  is excellent, however the settings are difficult to manuever. The reason: the toolbar is quite different from Internet Explorer. As soon as it is installed, one needs to sit down and read the instructions.

1.  When installing any browser, be careful about what you agree to.  They all come with threads of advertisers which will automatically appear on your toolbar and pop-up in other places. Why do we want to add multiple toolbars belonging to bing, ask, and unfamiliar engines?  Check "no" to everything.  Some unwanted stuff will still get loaded with your new free browser. It is all about advertising and somebody paying for the free browser.

2.  After installing a browser, go to the uninstall programs menu in the control panel and scroll down the list for anything installed on (today's) date.  Delete the unwanted things.

We have new security issues caused by terrorists and our own government. Be aware of this. Hoards of hackers are penetrating websites big-time.  If you own a website, it is a good idea not to run generic scripts, like blogs and shopping carts.  A great deal of damage is done through these scripts by hackers from China to the Middle-East.  They usually announce who they are so you'll know that a terrorist is on your trail.  For this reason, websites have tightened security.  Here is how it affects you:

1.  If you belong to a subscription website, your password is maximized for security. This means that the screws are tightened on the server-side.  Therefore, typos in the password will cause your computer to get blocked.  I suggest after two or three mistakes that you wait 5 minutes before trying again.  Entering a password is problematical because it is scrambled where you cannot see it. This is for your protection, however, what did you just type?

2.  Getting blocked from a website is due to typos in the password. The server is protecting its asset. When blocked, your browser will do funny things and usually refuse to reload the page.

3.  Find your ip address: http://whatismyip.com   and send it to the website involved so that it can be unblocked.

4.  As intruders break through security, programmers work quickly to stay ahead of the game.  This means additional hassle for users.  It is a good idea not to click on email attachments and have your virus program check for safety.

5.  Virus programs now offer a scan of the Facebook wall.

Friends, the game has changed. Facebook has issues.  We have all heard that Facebook and Google provide the government with access to our posts and other private areas.  Before you villianize them, they must obey the law.  My suggestion is that you "be very careful" what you post.  IRS is also in the snoop game now and some people are being hauled into court over postings on Facebook.  Meanwhile, FB recently changed some things. People who "like" your article do not necessarily see the next one. Your audience has dwindled from 12% to 6%.  Be aware of what is happening around you.

1.  More and more websites are owned by markets or firms in China, starting with the largest genealogy websites.

2.  Any inter-active program where you upload information to a website has the potential to be attacked. Your information is innocent, but can it be intercepted for devious purposes?  Therefore, expect tighter security.

As the internet expanded, users were finicky about sending credit card numbers.  This fear has been addressed by trusted offline merchant companies whose security is impenetrable.  However, one should be careful about ordering from fly-by-night companies who advertize on late-night tv and also have websites. Watch for diet pills, beauty creams, miracle facelifts, and the like.  Allow your virus program to make frequent full-system scans.



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