There's a lot to love about February. It's the month of Valentine's Day with all those heart-filled expressions of affection. We hope you get to share some sweet moments with loved ones; for a little celebration inspiration, check out the Pinterest section below.
Also in this issue, there's a ransomware warning. You'll learn how to avoid being ripped off by this online extortion as well as what to do if your computer has already been locked up by the virus. There's more learning in store in the FAQ and tutorial sections, where we teach you about supercookies and give you the steps for editing a Facebook timeline cover photo. Be sure to also watch this month's "just for fun" videos and browse through the featured websites for valuable content.
The goal of each of our 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.
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
Scam Alert – Ransomware Threat Demands PC Users Pay Or Else
A threat previously seen mostly in Eastern Europe has recently hit the United States. Known as ransomware, the scheme is essentially online extortion that involves infecting a user's computer with a virus that locks it. Users are told that the only way to get their machines back is to pay a steep fee — usually a few hundred dollars.
Security researchers estimate that about three percent of compromised computer owners fall for the scheme and pay. Why? They act impulsively due to fear and panic. These cybercriminals flash messages claiming to be from local law enforcement agencies accusing users of visiting illegal pornography, gambling, or piracy sites. Users may also be told that if they attempt to unlock the computer on their own, it will lead to the deletion of all files, videos, photos, and documents.
Victims' computers most often become infected with ransomware after people visit compromised websites that download the program to their machines without so much as a click. Security experts warn to NEVER PAY THE RANSOM; you'll lose your money and probably get nothing in return. If you do fall prey to ransomware, a number of legitimate security vendors offer solutions for unlocking machines. Talk to a local computer technician you trust for more information.
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This Month's FAQ – In The World Of Computers, What's A Supercookie?
Question: I'm familiar with the kind of cookie that tracks user preferences and browsing histories. But what's a supercookie?
Answer: Yes, there are many more kinds of cookies these days than chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin. As you correctly stated, a regular cookie is a bit of text stored on your browser that tracks user preferences and browsing histories. Cookies enable websites to "remember" information about you such as your name, preferences, and shopping basket contents.
Recently, some major online properties have been identified as using supercookies, also known as "Flash cookies" and "zombie cookies." Supercookies serve the same basic purpose as regular cookies but are stored in different locations on a user's machine — for example, in a file used by a plug-in such as Flash. This makes them harder to find and delete, especially since a browser's built-in cookie detection process won't remove them. Furthermore, some supercookies have additional capabilities, like regenerating regular cookies to prevent their removal by the user.
Sites Of The Month – Great Sites To Check Out In February
Go Red For Women www.goredforwomen.org – February is American Heart Month and 2013 marks the 10th anniversary of the Go Red for Women program. Check out this site to learn about heart disease, know the risk factors, and get heart-healthy recipes.
Learn From The Best www.ted.com – TED originally stood for Technology, Entertainment, and Design but has since broadened its scope. It features riveting talks by remarkable people (some now famous and others who may be famous someday). You're sure to gain information and motivation.
Quirky Consumer Content consumerist.com – When consumers and companies interact, strange and sometimes funny things can happen — like the Nebraska man who drove all the way into a pizzeria and then calmly ordered a pizza. If you're looking for fun fodder for conversation, look here.
Discounts Are Housed In This Cabin www.couponcabin.com – You'll find a comprehensive collection of coupon codes, printable coupons, freebies, and other great deals at this bargain-lovers site. Whatever you're getting ready to buy, it's worth stopping here first to see what you might be able to save.
Two To View – A Couple Of Amazing Videos You Don't Want To Miss
Precious Polar Bears At Play A couple of curious and energetic youngsters explore the outdoors while their concerned mother keeps her watchful eye on them. You'll be able to relate to the family dynamics in this adorable polar bear video.
Inside a McDonald's Photo Shoot Ever wondered why the burger in a McDonald's ad looks different from the one you're eating for lunch? It's because the photographed burger has been primped for the camera by food stylists, as shown in this behind-the-scenes look.