eCurrents | April 2010

 

Link to Advanced Technology, Personal Touch

 

 

 

 


Inside This Issue


Warning!
Rogue Security Software Is Big Threat


Try A Feature, Buy A Feature!

This Month's FAQ
Why Do E-mails Sometimes Take Hours To Arrive Or Never Arrive At All?

Sites Of The Month
Great Sites To Check Out In April

Short Tutorial
Setting Up Automatic Software Updates

WEBSITE COMPASS ONLINE
Your Guide To Understanding The Internet

 

 

Welcome to eCurrents

In honor of April showers, we've sprinkled all kinds of useful information in this month's eNewsletter. First, we warn you of the hazards of rogue security software (also known as scareware) that continues to be a big online threat, and tell you the precautions to take in order to avoid it. You'll also learn why e-mails are sometimes delayed or not delivered at all, and how to set up automatic software updates to stay on top of computer security. And in Great Sites, you'll find a variety of handy resources to help with tasks including cooking brunch, managing money, and packing bags.

The goal of each of our monthly eNewsletters is to keep our subscribers informed regarding their Internet connection and to improve their Internet experience. We think you'll find this information interesting. If, however, you'd prefer not to receive these bulletins on a monthly basis, please see the links at the bottom of this e-mail to manage your preferences.

To see what's inside this issue, simply scroll down the eNewsletter or click on the links within the index to the left. Thanks for reading!

- The eCurrents Team





 
 

Warning! - Rogue Security Software Is Big Threat

Trojans, including rogue security software, remain the most prevalent category of threats according to a recent report from Microsoft. So stay alert - rogue security software appears to be beneficial from a security perspective but actually provides limited or no security, generates erroneous or misleading alerts, and/or attempts to lure users into participating in fraudulent transactions.

Watch out for pop-up "alerts" or "updates" that may appear on your screen that say something like, "Warning! Malware detected on your computer!" (See the example below.) These messages often look very official, and you may be tempted to click on the button that offers to remove the threats by downloading security software. DON'T DO IT. These messages are crafted to scare you (hence the nickname of scareware) into spending money for worthless antivirus protection. Even worse, scareware is often malware designed to steal personal information, and installing it on your computer can lead to unauthorized financial transactions and identity theft. The image below is an example of a scareware pop-up.

Scareware Sample Image


To avoid having to deal with scareware, Internet security experts advise caution:

  • Don't download any security software from an unknown source on the Internet, and be skeptical of advertisements for unknown software that claim to provide easy protection.
  • Make sure you install all security updates for your operating system.
  • Avoid opening attachments or clicking on links to documents in e-mail or instant messages that are received unexpectedly or from an unknown source.

As always, we recommend you use antispam and antivirus software, install a firewall, and keep your operating system and browser software updated.

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Try A Feature, Buy A Feature!

Caller ID on Call Waiting, Call Forward, Voice Mail, Speed Dialing—did you ever wonder how these telephone calling features can make your life easier? If so, 3 Rivers offers you a great way to try one (or all) of them for FREE! Sign up for any of 3 Rivers' many different calling features and you'll get your first two months FREE! If after two months you're not convinced of their value, just let us know and we'll discontinue the service with no obligation on your part.

Visit the calling features page on 3rivers.net to see information on more than 20 features offered by 3 Rivers, or call a Customer Sales and Service Representative for more information at 800-796-4567 (467-2535 from a 3 Rivers local calling area).

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This Month's FAQ - Why Do E-mails Sometimes Take Hours To Arrive Or Never Arrive At All?

Question: Sometimes an e-mail will take much longer than usual to get to me—even hours. Sometimes I never receive it at all. Why is that?

Answer: We've all gotten used to e-mail being an almost instantaneous communications medium that we really notice when there's a delay. E-mail delays and failed delivery can be the result of many different causes, and here are some of the most common ones:

  • Slow E-mail TurtleOverloaded Servers In most cases of delayed e-mail, it's simply due to one of the mail servers along the way being overloaded and running slow, usually because of a flood of spam.
  • Spam Filters/Grey Lists/Black Lists Spam filters are meant to block spam, but sometimes they block a legitimate e-mail instead which means the recipient doesn't get it. When an e-mail doesn't arrive that you're expecting, always check your junk mail folder to see if it's there.
  • Internet Connectivity Problems Sometimes things break and broken things cause delays. A bad connection between your computer and mail server, your mail server and a DNS server, your mail server and the recipients' mail server(s), or the recipient's mail server and the recipient's computer can all cause delays in e-mail delivery.
  • User Error It's very common for the sender to mistype an e-mail address. If you're missing or unsure of an e-mail address, get in touch with the sender and check on their correct e-mail address.

Nothing is perfect—including e-mail. So use the tips above to investigate a missing e-mail, and try to be patient with the occasional slow-moving message. After all, it's still much faster than snail mail.

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Sites Of The Month - Great Sites To Check Out In April

30 Days to Financial Wellness
http://financialliteracymonth.com - Committing to a month-long challenge is a great way to reach a goal. April is National Financial Literacy Month, and this site challenges you to achieve financial wellness in 30 days. Each day is represented by a step that includes details about how to make it work for you. You'll also find tools for success, tips, gadgets, and a blog from Money Management International, the sponsor of the site. April already too busy? That's okay, you can start the program any time!

Get Cracking With Eggs
http://incredibleegg.org - Planning a brunch for a special occasion like Mother's Day? Make it "egg-ceptional" by visiting the Recipes & More section of the American Egg Board site. This site also provides information on egg nutrition, egg facts, egg cooking tips, egg games, and incredible people who make eggs part of their diet. Don't forget to check out the fun videos in Eggs 101.

How to (Really) Travel Light
http://onebag.com - Traveling light always sounds like a good idea, but it can be difficult to do. After all, you really might need those three umbrellas and ten pairs of pants, right? Wrong. This well-regarded site provides detailed information about what to pack (including a sample checklist), what to pack it in, and how to keep your travel luggage to a minimum. Benefits of packing light include greater security, saving money on luggage fees, flexibility, and peace of mind.

Hooked on Idol
http://americanidol.com - If you can't get enough American Idol, this is the place to be. Catch up on performances you may have missed or want to watch again, see video recaps of results announcements, or check out photos of the beloved stars-to-be. You can also support your favorite contestants and judges with t-shirts and gear, and share your thoughts with other fans in the Idol community as you anticipate the season finale in May.

NFL Draft 2010
http://espn.go.com/nfl/draft - Visit this site to keep up with all the buzz, rankings, and previews for the 2010 NFL draft set to take place April 22-24. You can check out videos, blogs, and picks, as well as take a look back at previous drafts and a complete draft history for each team. Join the online conversation about your favorite teams, and find information about your favorite players.

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Short Tutorial - Setting Up Automatic Software Updates

An important way to help keep your computer secure and reliable is to install updates to the operating system as soon as they become available. The easiest way to do this is through automatic updates, which conveniently tell you whenever an update is ready to install and eliminate your need to remember this task. Follow the steps below for your operating system.

Turning On Automatic Updates In Windows XP:

1.   Click your cursor arrow on "Start" in the lower left corner of the screen, and then click on "Control Panel" in the pop-up menu.

2.   When the Control Panel window opens, select "Security Center." When the Security Center window opens, you will see "Automatic Updates" under "Security essentials."

3.   If "Automatic Updates" is off, click on the "Automatic Updates" link under "Manage your security settings for:" The Automatic Updates window will appear.

4.   Click on the "Automatic" radio button or on the word "Automatic."

5.   Select an interval and time for the update to occur. The default is "Every day" and "12:00 PM."

6.   Click on the "Apply" and then the "OK" buttons to save your changes. This will take you back to the Security Center window.

7.   Automatic Updates status should now be "On" under "Security essentials." Click on the red "x" in the upper right corner of the Security Center window to close and again to close the Control Panel window.

Turning On Automatic Updates In Windows Vista:

1.   Click your cursor arrow on "Start" in the lower left corner of the screen, and then click on "Control Panel" in the pop-up menu.

2.   When the Control Panel window opens, click on "Security."

3.   When the Security window opens, click on "Security Center."

4.   When the Security Center window opens, you will see "Automatic Updates" under "Security essentials."

5.   If "Automatic Updates" is off, click on the "Windows Update" link.

6.   When the Windows Update window opens, click on the "Change settings" link.

7.   Under "Important updates," use the large button to select "Install updates automatically (recommended)."

8.   Select an interval and time for the update to occur. The default is "Every day" and "3:00 AM."

9.   Click on "OK" to save your changes.

10.  Click on the red "x" in the upper right corner of the Windows Update window to close it.

11.  Automatic Updates status should now be "On" under "Security essentials." Click on the red "x" in the upper right corner of the Security Center window to close and again to close the Control Panel window.

Alternate Method For Windows Vista:

1.   Click your cursor arrow on "Start" in the lower left corner of the screen, and then click on "All Programs Panel" in the pop-up menu.

2.   Click on "Windows Update" from the list of programs.

3.   Select "Change Settings" and choose how you want Windows to install updates.

4.   When the Windows Update window opens, click on the "Change settings" link.

5.   Under "Important updates," use the large button to select "Install updates automatically (recommended)."

6.   Select an interval and time for the update to occur. The default is "Every day" and "3:00 AM."

7.   Click on "OK" to save your changes.

8.   Click on the red "x" in the upper right corner of the Windows Update window to close it.

Turning On Automatic Updates In Windows 7:

1.   Click your cursor arrow on "Start" in the lower left corner of the screen, and then click on "Control Panel" in the pop-up menu.

2.   When the Control Panel window opens, click on "System and Security."

3.   When the System and Security window opens, click on "Windows Update."

4.   When the Security Center window opens, you will see "Automatic Updates" under "Security essentials." If "Automatic Updates" is off, click on the "Windows Update" link.

5.   When the Windows Update window opens, click on the "Change settings" link.

6.   Under "Important updates," use the large button to select "Install updates automatically (recommended)."

7.   Select an interval and time for the update to occur. The default is "Every day" and "3:00 AM."

8.   Click on "OK" to save your changes.

9.   Click on the red "x" in the upper right corner of the Windows Update window to close it.

10.  Automatic Updates status should now be "On" under "Security essentials." Click on the red "x" in the upper right corner of the Security Center window to close and again to close the Control Panel window.

Alternate Method For Windows 7:

1.   Click your cursor arrow on "Start" in the lower left corner of the screen, and then click on "All Programs Panel" in the pop-up menu.

2.   Click on "Windows Update" from the list of programs.

3.   Select "Change Settings" and choose how you want Windows to install updates.

4.   When the Windows Update window opens, click