Protecting your privacy and keeping your computer running clean...
Spying Eyes
Is it safe?
The internet is a large place with lots of dark places, bad people, and software that can hide to steal not only your personal information but also mess up your system as well.

This list of tips and tricks is a rehash of the most common problem causing things not to do. We have also included information on some new threats to watch out for on your day to day usage of the Internet.

1. Remember, do not open email or attachments from someone you do not trust and know. This can lead to malicious software, spyware, and viruses being released on your computer. Some malicious software can gain access to all your personal information stored in your accounting program, email client, etc.

2. Beware of phishing attacks where you may receive an email from someone who appears to be a legitimate business or organization with legitimate reason to request information. If you find any email suspect delete it immediately.

3. To help protect yourself from malware/virus attacks be sure to read email in plain text and do not use the preview pane, scan attachments with antivirus software before downloading, delete suspicious emails without opening them.

4. Do not download online screen savers. A lot of screen savers can have installers for adware, trojan horse, or hijacker software. These forms of malware are specifically designed to steal information off of your computer.

5. To protect your computer from unauthorized access do not use P2P (peer to peer) clients or bit torrent clients, or download illegal software. These could contain malicious programs that could jeopardize the security of your computer.

6. Do not download programs from third party websites; only download from the developer websites. Third party downloads can contain adware that installs Trojan horse software on your computer. Some of this software can collect information such as ePHI off of your computer.

7. Ensure that your browser has a working pop-up blocker. Many times pop-ups can contain installers for malicious software.

8. Make sure to update Windows frequently to ensure you get the latest security patches. These updates are released to help ensure your system is kept safe from malicious attacks to the code of the operating system.

9. Avoid browser add-on's. Some of these "add-on's" are actually malicious software. If your browser has any add-ons that you did not install go to control panel and remove them. This will help you avoid infections that could breach your systems security.

10. It is important to avoid downloading online games on your computer. Some of these games may have installers for trojan horse or other forms of malware that have the intention of stealing information from your computer.

11. Do not install programs that do not have a trusted digital signature unless instructed otherwise. Windows will warn you if a program does not have a trusted digital signature. Often times these are malicious programs that could steal your personal information and do unrecoverable harm to your computer.

12. Do not accept offers from "free virus scan" websites. These "virus removal programs" are actually bundled with malware that can harm your computer and allow unauthorized access to sensitive information on your computer such as Facebook, Online Banking and other sites that get cached to your system.

13. Do not allow anyone to place removable media (i.e. flash drives, CD-ROM, floppy discs) into your machine from outside your home. You never know when removable media may contain malicious software that could render your system useless.

14. Never update software based on a websites recommendation. It is best to use the software's own updater to complete this action. Often times when a website tells you to update software it is really trying to get you to download malware.

    This is a small list of things to remember when working with your computer.

    There are anti virus software's out there that can contain what is called a 'Sandbox' feature that will basically encapsulate your browsers so any browsing you do and say you hit a bad website, it will not be able to install malicious code or software. It basically keeps it in the 'sandbox' and when you close the browser all usage and files it downloaded are removed.

    Be safe and remember, the web can be a great place to learn and have fun. However always take precaution to ensure you are protected from any form of cyber attacks.